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Ronton : 


No. 47, Washington-Street. 


182, Broadway. 




. 41)2848 

. i^tTOft, LENOX AND 
P 1910 L 



There is an important, though often an overlook- 
ed difference between the results of human ingenu- 
ity, as embodied in the principles of science, and the 
institutions of civil society, and^e results of divine 
wisdom, as embodied in the doctrines of revelation, 
and the ordinances of the Christian church. Hu- 
man science is the offspring of the observations and 
experiments of beings limited in their faculties, and 
liable to error, and admits, from this very circum- 
stance of constant growth, frequent correction and 
indefinite improvement. The principles of natural 
philosophy are much better understood at present, 
not only than they were, but than they could have 
been an hundred years ago ; and it is highly proba- 
ble, that, before the end of another century, they will 
be still better understood than they are at present : 
but, as the most finished work of the human mind is 
necessarily imperfect, there will always be room for 
the correction of mistakes, and the supply of de- 

It is altogether otherwise with the doctrines of 
Revelation. They flow forth absolutely pure from 
the fountain of knowledge and of truth. They are 
an in&llible statement of a portion of the mind of 
Him who alone hath wisdom. Human science is like 
the statue, which, under the successive strokes of the 
artist's chisel, from a rude, unformed block, gradu- 
ally assumes a striking resemblance to '^ the human 
form divine." Revealed truth is like our general 
parent, rising at once into perfect form, and beauty, 
and life, at the command of his Creator. The im- 
provement even of the most finished statue implies 


no absurdity ; but the idea of mending the divine 
work were equally replete with impiety and folly. 
Human science, being the product of fallible reason, 
cannot be perfect. There must be deficiency, and 
there may be error ; and it admits of improvement 
both by correction and addition. There is room for 
neither in the doctrines of revelation. Divine reve- 
lation is, firom its very nature, free from error, pro- 
ceeding from him who cannot be deceived, and who 
cannot deceive ; and though imperfect, inasmuch as 
it does not extend to all possible objects of religious 
knowledge, it obviously admits of addition in no 
other way than by a new revelation. He who has 
made known to us a portion of his mind, may, if he 
pleases, make known to us another portion of it ; but 
till he does so, the whole of our duty, in reference 
to the revelation given, is to endeavour distinctly to 
apprehend the meaning of its various parts, and the 
relations, connexions, and dependencies of these 
various parts, and to yield up the whole of our intel- 
lectual and active nature to its influence. It is 
equally inconsistent with this duty to attempt to 
make corrections on the system of revealed truth, or 
to make additions to it. 

It would have been a happy thing for the Chris- 
tian world, if the obvious distinction which has now 
been pointed out had been steadily kept in view by 
the teachers of religion. The " truth as it is in 
Jesus" would not then have been obscured by at- 
tempts to illustrate it ; nor the dogmas of a vain 
philosophy mingled with the oracles of divine wis- 
dom, or substituted in their room. The ingenuity, 
and learning, and labour, which have been often 
worse than wasted, in endeavouring, by working up 
into a complete system of religion and morals, such 
of the materials furnished by revelation, as seemed 
fit for their purpose, along with such materials as 
they could collect from other sources, viViWe^ v^VOci- 

out ceremony, such portions of revelation as appear- 
ed unsuitable to their object were overlooked or re- 
jected,— might have been devoted to a diligent in- 
quiry into the meaning and connexion of the sacred 
oracles ; and thus have discovered there made by 
his hand who made the world, what they must for 
ever in vain attempt to make for themselves ; and we 
would not have had reason to doubt, in an age when 
human science has, in all its branches, attained to an 
unprecedented state of improvement, whether the 
principles of revealed truth are not worse understood, 
among those who profess to believe them, than they 
were seventeen hundred years ago. 

A similar distinction ought to be made between 
the institutions of civil society and the ordinances of 
the Christian church. The principles of civil go- 
vernment are at present much better understood than 
they were or could have been in what are ordinarily 
called the dark ages ; and it is certain, whatever a 
blind reverence for antiquity may urge to the con- 
trary, that the social arrangements which prevail in 
our own country are incomparably superior to those 
which existed even in the most illustrious ages of 
Grecian and Roman history ; and it is equally evident, 
whatever a partial fondness for the institutions of 
our own country and age may suggest, that a much 
more perfect form of social life is not only easily con- 
ceivable ; but, at some future period, is likely to be 
realized, than any that has yet been established 
among mankind. These institutions are the result 
of human ingenuity, and therefore are imperfect. 
There is something wanting, and something wrong 
with the best of them. 

But it is otherwise with the ordinances of the 
Christian church ; for they are the appointments of 
infinite wisdom. They were originally given by 
one who had a perfect knowledge of the end of such 
institutions — the religious and moral imptovecaeiikt 

of his people ; and a perfect knowledge, too, of that 
intellectual and moral constitution, for the improve- 
ment of which they are intended — and, like all the 
divine works, they are perfect. They are all of them 
. characterized by a beautiful simplicity, which ill ac- 
cords with the ordinary, but depraved taste of man- 
kind for what is complicated and difficult; but 
which is a leading feature in all the works and ar- 
rangements of infinite wisdom. 

It might have been expected, that the institutions 
of Christianity, bearing on them the impress of su- 
preme authority, would have been accounted too sa- 
cred things to be tampered with by those who ad- 
mitted the divine origin of that religion. But what 
is there too presumptuous for man to attempt ? The 
same principle which led professed Christians to mo- 
dify the doctrines of Christ, led them to alter his in- 
stitutions. In both cases, they flattered themselves 
that they were making improvements ; but what was 
thei truth f By their experiments on the doctrines of 
Christ, they, in many cases, converted the true elixir 
of immortal life into a deadly poison, and, at the very 
best, robbed it of its healing virtues, just in the pro- 
portion in which they have infused into it baser ingre- 
dients : and by their experiments on the institutions 
of Christ,they have rendered them utterly unfit for the 
purposes they were intended to answer; and, instead 
of important means of religion and moral improve- 
ment, they have made them mere vehicles of amuse- 
ment to the senses or imagination, and in many cases, 
the instruments of extensive demoralization and of 
fatal delusion. 

No Christian ordinance has been more perverted 
by superstition than the Lord's Supper ; and no por- 
tion of Christian truth has been more involved in 
obscurity and error than that which respects that or- 
dinance. False opinions and superstitious usages 
mutua])y produce and support each other. By this 


malignant action and re-action, in reference to the 
Lord's Supper, where the'emblematical nature of the 
institution, and the figurative language in which, of 
course, much of the truth respecting it was couched, 
afforded peculiar facilities for misapprehension, mis- 
representation, and delusion, we find, within the 
course of a few centuries, the simple rite of an as* 
sembly of Christians eating bread and drinking wine, 
in grateful commemoration of the expiatory suffer- 
ings and death of Jesus Christ, converted into a splen- 
did and complicated ceremony ;* and the plain, in- 
telligible doctrine that in this ordinance we are pre- 
sented with, an emblematical representation and 
confirmation of the great principles of our religion, 
which, by strengthening our belief, contributes to 
our spiritual improvement, gives way to a portentous 
dogma, of which, it is impossible to say whether it 
be more absurd or impious, that in this ordinance 
the bread and the wine are, by the mystic power of a 
priest's repeating the words of institution, converted 
into the body, and blood, and divinity of Jesus 
Christ ; which, after having been offered to God by 
the priest, as an expiatory sacrifice for the sins of 
the living and the dead, are literally eaten and drunk 
by the recipients. So dangerous is it to deviate from 
the purity of scriptural truth, and the simplicity of 
primitive usage. It is impossible to say where we 
will stop. The probability is, that we will not stop 
till we land ourselves in the pravity of damnable er- 
ror, and in the absurdity of senseless superstition. 

At the reformation, the doctrine of transubstan- 
tiation, and the practice of the sacrifice of the mass, 
were discarded by all the Protestant churches ; but 
there was but a partial return to the purity and sim- 

* " That feast of free grace and adoption to which Christ invited his dis- 
ciples to sit as brethren and co-heirs of the happy covenant which at that 
taole was to be sealed to them, even that feast of Jove and heavenly-admit- 
ted fellowship, the seal of filial mce. became the subieclof biottQx^^sA 
g)outiDg admiration pagieanted su>out like a dreaudfuX \d<Q\.^^— ^vutc^^ » 



plicity of primitive doctrine and observance. By 
the Lutheran church, a variety of unauthorized rites 
were retained, and the doctrine ofconsubstantiation, 
or the real, though impalpable and invisible, pre- 
sence of the body and blood of Christ, along with, 
and under the substance of bread and wine, in the 
consecrated elements, was substituted in the room of 
the not more absurd, and certainly not less intelli- 
gible, dogma of transubstantiation ; and, although 
most of the reformed churches rejected both th^se 
equally unscriptural doctrines, and approximated 
much more closely to both the principles and prac- 
tice of apostolical times, yet still it cannot be denied, 
that in most of their symbolical books there is much 
mystical statement, respecting the spiritual presence 
of Jesus Christ in the Lord's Supper, and the man- 
ner in which Christians participate of bis body and 
blood when they observe it ; as if Christ's presence 
in this ordinance were not essentially the same as 
his presence iii any other ordinance, when, by the 
operation of his Spirit, through the instrumentality 
of the truth, he^ communicates to the believing mind 
knowledge, and purification, and comfort; — as if 
" the eating Christ's flesh, and drinking Christ'* 
blood," in this ordinance were something else than 
that participation of those hissings procured by his 
suiTerings and death, which all true Christians enjoy 
whenever they believe the divine testimony respect- 
ing these suiTerings and death ; — and as if all the pe- 
culiarities of this ordinance did not originate in the 
emblematical form in which it brings Christian truth 
and its evidence before the mind. 

It is obvious, that to be conducive to the spiritual 
improvement of those who engage in it, the Lord's 
Supper must be " a rational service," — an exercise 
of the mind and of the heart : and it is equally obvi- 
ous, that, for the purpose of rendering it a rational 
service, it is not our business to endeavour to invent 


a spiritual meaning to the emblems which are em- 
ployed in it ; but to endeavour to discover the spir* 
itual meaning, which he who appointed the ordinan- 
ces intended to be attached to these emblems. Some 
writers on the nature and design of this ordinance, 
seem to have overlooked this ; and, of course, their 
works, though replete with pious faiicibs, are rather 
deficient in such distinct, scripturally supported 
views, as are calculated at once to satisfy the mind 
and guide the exercise of the devout Christian. It 
is often treated of as an oath of allegiance — a federal 
transaction between God and the communicant — an 
unbloody sacrifice, or a feast upon a sacrifice — and 
much fruitless controversy has taken place, which of 
these, or whether any of them, afibrds a just repre- 
sentation of its nature, design, and advantages. Fi- 
gurative descriptions of an emblematical ordinance 
do not seem peculiarly well fitted for explaining it ; 
and there is a considerable hazard lest, in our follow- 
ing out our tropical illustrations, we end in making 
the ordinance something altogether different from 
what Jesus Christ made it ; and, as the promise of 
his blessing is attached only to the observance of his 
institution, we shut ourselves out from the advanta- 
ges we mi^ht have enjoyed from its observance, if 
we do not, m simple suomission to his authority, and 
reliance on his Spirit, eat bread and drink wine, in 
believing remembrance and religious commemora- 
tion of his expiatory sufferings and death. 

The simplest and, to our own minds, the most 
satisfactory view of the Lord's Supper which we have 
been able to take, is that which considers it as, on 
the part of Him who instituted it, an emblematical 
representation and confirmation of the grand pecu- 
liarities of the Christian institution ; and, on the part 
of him who observes it, an emblematical expression 
of a state of mind and heart in accordance with this 
statement of Christian truth and its evidence. 


That there is something more in the Lord's Sup- 
per than meets the external senses — that its emble- 
matical elements are meant to embody Christian 
doctrine and its emblematical actions, to express 
Christian thought and feeling, there can be no doubt ; 
and in order to discover what is the Christian truth 
which the instituted symbols represent, we are not 
left to conjecture how such emblems may be natu- 
rally interpreted. In the statements of our Lord, 
and of his inspired Apostles, we have abundant and 
satisfactory information. The following is a short 
account of the institution of the Lord's Supper, as 
narrated by Matthiew, Mark, Luke, and Paul: — "The 
Lord Jesus, that night in which he was betrayed, 
while observing with his Apostles the Jewish pass- 
over, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he 
brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, ' Take, 
eat ; this is my body which is broken for you : this 
do in remembrance of me.' After the same manner 
he took the cup, when he had supped, and gave it to 
-them, saying, * This cup is my blood of the new 
covenant, which is shed for many, for the remission 
of sins: drink ye all of it. This do ye as oft as ye 
drink it, in remembrance of me.' "* The meaning 
of the highly figurative phrases, "eat'mg Christ's 
flesh and drinking Christ's blood," may be easily as- 
certained from the following quotations from one of 
our Lord's discourses : — " He that believeth on me 
hath everlasting life. I am that bread of life. If any 
man eat of this bread, he shall live forever : and the 
bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give 
for the life of the world. Except ye eat the flesh of 
the son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life 
in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my 
blood, hath eternal life ; and I will raise him up at 
the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my 

* Malth. xzri. 26, d&c. Mark xiv. 22, &c. Luke atii. 19, Soc, 1 Cor. 
xi. 23, &x. 


blood is drink indeed.'!^ The apostle Paul, in his 
first epistle to the Corinthians, makes the following 
observations in reference to the meaning of the em- 
blems in the Lord's Supper : — " The cup of blessing, 
or thanksgiving, which we bless, or over which we 
give thanks, is it not the communion — the mutual 
participation of the blood of Christ? the bread 
which we break, is it not the communion — the mu- 
tual participation of the body of Christ ? for we being 
many are one bread and one body : for we are all 
partakers of that one bread.^'f These passages of 
Scripture are the legitimate materials from which 
we are to form our judgments as to the meaning of 
the emblems in the Lord's Supper ; and they cer- 
tainly warrant us to affirm, that this ordinance is an 
emblematical representation of all the grand pecu- 
liarities of the Christian system. 

Truth may be brought before the mind in two 
ways — by verbal statement, or by emblematical re- 
presentation. The first is best fitted for conveying 
new information ; the second is admirably calculated 
for recalling, in a striking maimer, to the mind, in- 
formation formerly presented to it. The first me- 
thod of presenting the leading truths of Christianity 
is adopted in the written and spoken gospel ; the se- 
cond, in the Lord's Supper : and it will be found, on 
examination, that that ordinance is as it were a mi- 
niature picture of the same series of divine dispen- 
sations, of which we have a detailed history in the 
word of the truth of the gospel. 

It may be worth our while to expand this remark 
a little, and show how full qf Christian truth is every 
part of this emblematical institution. Let us con- 
template the symbolical elements and actions, and 
apply to our Lord and his Apostles for their spirit- 
ual signification. In this ordinance we have bread 
and wine : and of the bread, our Lord says, " This 

• John vi. '47-65. 1 1 Cor. x. 16, 17. 

is my body ;" and of the wine, " This is my blood." 
These words admit but of two modes of interpreta- 
tion — the literal, which conducts directly into all the 
absurdities and blasphemies of transubstantiation ; 
and the figurative, which represents the bread and 
the wine, as emblems of the body and blood of the 
Redeemer ; just in the same way as the rock which 
supplied the Israelites with water during their wan- 
derings in the wilderness, is called Christ. The 
words plainly imply, that he who used them had a 
body and blood — was a possessor of human nature : 
and the elements, to a well-instructed Christian, natu- 
rally recall the grand fundamental doctrine of the 
incarnation. In silent, but expressive language, they 
proclaim, " The word was made flesh, and dwelt 
among men : 'inasmuch as the children were partak- 
ers of flesh and blood, he also took part of the same. 
Great is the mystery of godliness : God was mani- 
fest in the flesh." 

But in the Lord's Supper we not only have bread 
and wine, but broken bread and poured-out wine. 
Our Lord has unfolded the meaning of these em- 
blems also : " This is my body broken, my blood shed ; 
my body broken, my blood shed for you ; my body 
broken, my blood shed for remission of sin unto 
many." The broken bread and the poured-out wine 
are, when thus explained, calculated to suggest to 
Christian minds, that the incarnate Saviour, after a 
life of suflering, died a violent death ; that these suf- 
ferings and this death were vicarious and expiatory, 
undergone in the room of sinners, to obtain their 
salvation. It concentrates as it were the principal 
statements both of the prophets and the evangelists ; 
and, with one glance of the eye, we see the won- 
drous plan of human redemption through the media- 
tion of the incarnate only begotten. It tells us more 
toui^hingly than words could do, that '^ Christ died 
for our sins, according to the Scriptures ; that he 


>i«ras wounded for our transgressions and bruised for 
our iniquities; that in him we have redemption 
through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins ; that 
he has given himself for us a sacrifice and an ofler- 
ing^; and has thus brought us unto God." 

But the doctrines of the incarnation and, the 
atonement are not the only principles of Christian 
truth which are embodied in the Lord's Supper. 
Had their representation been its sole object, it might 
have been gained, by the minister's exhibiting bread 
and wine ; and while he pointed to them, proclaim- 
ing, " This is Christ's body broken ; this is Christ's 
blood shed for you." But this is not the Lord's 
Supper. In that ordinance, we have not only broken 
bread and poured out wine ; but the broken bread is 
eaten, and the poured-out wine is drank. This also 
is replete with spiritual meaning. From the passage 
above quoted, from one of our Lord's discourses, it is 
plain, that eating Christ's flesh and drinking Christ's 
blood, is significant of that interest in his suflerings 
and death, which, by the divine appointment, is con- 
nected with the belief of the truth respecting them : 
so that here we ar^ furnished with an emblematical 
representation of that cardinal doctrine of Christian- 
ity, that " whosoever believeth in Christ Jesus shall 
not perish, but have everlasting life." As bread and 
wine, though in themselves most nutritious food, will 
not nourish us, unless we eat the one and drink the 
other, so the expiatory sufferings and death of the 
incarnate son of God, though of themselves adequate 
to the salvation of the greatest sinner, v/ill not save 
us unless we believe. 

But we have not yet exhausted the spiritual mean- 
ing pf the emblems in the Lord's Supper. Had it been 
our Lord's object merely to embody, in an emble- 
matical institution, the principles, '^ tnat the only be- 
Sotten of God in human nature suffered and died in 
le room of sinners, to procure their salvation ; and 

that faith in these truths is at once absolutely neces* 
«ary and completely sufficient to secure to the sin- 
ner an interest in this salvation ;'' it is probable that 
the sacred rite would have been of such a nature as 
admitted of performance by a single individual. But 
this is not the case with the Lord's Supper. It is a 
social institution, and Christians must '' come togeth- 
er to eat the Lord's Supper." Without any explicit 
revelation on the subject, knowing, as we do from 
other passages of Scripture, that a very intimate re- 
lation does subsist among all the true followers of 
Jesus Christ, we might perhaps have warrantably 
concluded that this mystical feast was intended em- 
blematically to represent their holy fellowship. But 
it is our wish to say nothing in reference to the 
meaning of this ordinance but what we are distinctly 
taught in Scripture. Indeed, th6re is no necessity 
to have recourse to inference. The passage already 
quoted from the apostle Paul is most explicit. In 
partaking of the cup of blessing, there is a commun- 
^ion, or mutual participation of the blood of Christ ; 
in partaking of the broken bread, there is a commu- 
nion, or mutual participation of the body of Christ ; 
and the consequence of this mutual participation is, 
that the partakers are all one body and one bread. 
The realitv and the nature of that intimate relation 
which subsists among all Christ's genuine followers 
is there strikingly exhibited. They are holy society, 
bound together by their common faith in the grand 
leadiug truths of Christianity^ embodied in this em- 
blematical institution, and, by their common love to 
that Saviour who is in it, "evidently set forth, cruci- 
fied and slain." 

It is deeply to be regretted, that this part of the 
meaning of the Lord's Supper has been so much 
overlooked and forgotten, and that, " the symbol of 
pur common Christianity" should have been almost 
ttniyersally converted into " the badge and criterion 

of a party, a mark of discrimination applied to dis* 
tinguish the nicer shades of difference among Chris- 
tians."* It was not so from the beginning. The 
church of Christ was originally one body : the ordi* 
nance of the Lord's Supper is suited to such an or- 
der of things ; and however perverted from its orig- 
inal purpose, though, instead of the common place 
of friendly meeting for all who believe the truth and 
love the Saviour, it has in many cases become ^^ the 
line ^of demarcation, the impassable boundary which 
separates and disjoins them," still, in its obvious em- 
blematical meaning, it sounds a retreat from the un- 
natural divisions which prevail among the genuine 
followers of the Saviour, by proclaiming, ^hat they 
are indeed all " one in Christ Jesus." 

There is just one other important principle of Chris- 
tian truth which we consider as embodied in the 
Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper is a positive in** 
stitution. It is entirely founded on the authority of 
Jesus Christ, as Him to whom all power in heaven 
and earth belongs, [t does not like what may be 
termed the moral part of our religion necessarily to 
arise out of the relations in which we stand to God 
as the God of salvation, and to Jesus Christ as the 
Redeemer of mankind, such as faith, confidence, and 
obedience. The sole obligation of this ordinance 
arises out of its appointment by Christ. It would 
have been our duty to have gratefully and devoutly 
remembered our Saviour's dying love, though no ex- 
press command had been given us to that effect ; but 
it would not have been our duty to have expressed 
this grateful and devout recollection by the eating 
bread and drinking wine, had not Jesus Christ said, 
** Do this in remembrance of me." The ordinance, 
then, embodies in it Christ's claims on the implicit 
obedience of his followers, and holds him forth as 
their Lawgiver as well as their Saviour. 

• HaU. 


Thus have we seen how replete with Christian 
truth is this emblematical institution. It forcibly 
presents to the Christian's mind these great funda- 
mental principles of his religion, " that Jesus Christ, 
the Son of God, assumed human nature, and suffer- 
ed and died in the room of sinners, to obtain their 
salvation ; that all who believe God's testimony con-* 
eerning this method of salvation, shall be saved ; 
that all who are thus interested in this Christian sal- 
vation form a holy fellowship, bound together by the 
faith of the same truth, and reliance on the same 
Saviour ; and that all who belong to this Christian 
fellowship are bound to submit implicitly to the Sa- 
viours authority, and to walk in all his ordinances 
and commandments blameless." 

But the Lord's Supper contains in it an emblema- 
tical comjirmaiiony as well as an emblematical exhibi-^ 
tion, of Christian doctrine. It presents to us not 
only the truth, but its evidence. The Lord's Supper 
involves in it satisfactory evidence of the truth of 
Christianity in general. It has been remarked, by 
one of the most ingenious defenders of Christianity,* 
that there can be no reasonable doubt of the reality of 
any event which is of such a nature as that men's sen- 
ses can clearly and fully judge of it, which took place 
publicly, and in commemoration of which, public in- 
stitutions were immediately appointed, and have con- 
tinued to be observed with uninterrupted succession 
tillthe present time. The facts of our Lord's death 
and resurrection are facts to which these characters 
belong. They were events, of the reality of which, 
men, in the exercise of the senses common to the 
species, could clearly and fully judge — they took 
place publicly, — in the . institutions of the Lord's 
Supper and the Lord's day, institutions more closely 
connected than seems generally to be apprehended 
by Christians in the present age, we have public ob- 

* Leslie. 


oervances institated in commemoration of these 
events, and which we know, from the most indubita- 
ble evidence, have been uninterruptedly observed 
from the period of their institution down to our own 
times. It is impossible for the ingenuity of infideli- 
ty to account satis&ctorily for these facts, on any 
principle which does not involve in it the truth of 
Christianity ; and it does not seem possible to con- 
ceive of a more simple, yet more eifectual method of 
transmitting unimpaired the principal evidences of 
the truth of Christianity, in the miraculous events 
accompanpng the Saviour's death and resurrection, 
than by wrapping it. up, if Imay use the expression, 
in the two kindred positive institutions of the Lord's 
Supper and the Lord's day. 

The use of the Lord's Supper, as confirming Chris- 
tian truth, is however by no means confined to this 
general proof of the truth of Christianity, as a sys- 
tem which it involves. It not only proves that a 
c^ertain system of principles, denominated Christiani- 
ty, is true and divine, but it proves that the doctrines 
which it emblematically embodies, form the leading 
principles of that true and divine system. It does 
not, like some very clear and convincing statements 
of the evidences of Christianity leave you in the dark 
as to what Christianity is. And here we have much 
reason to admire the ^' manifold wisdom" discovered 
in this emblematical institution. Even a slight va- 
riation in its details would have rendered it com- 
pletely unfit for answering this most important pur- 
pose. ' Had our Lord merely enjoined that his fol* 
lowers should fi-equently assemble around the same 
board, and eat bread, and drink wine together, the 
rite might have been plausibly represented as nor- 
thing more than an exhibition of the tendency and 
design of Christianity to put an end to all unfriendly 
divisions among mankind, and to bind them together 
in the bands of fraternal affection. Had be even 


gone somewhat farther, and, on appointing such aa 
institution, proclaimed, " This is the bread of life ; 
he who eateth of it shall never hunger^ — this is the 
wine of the kingdom ; he that drinketh of it shall 
never thirst — eat, drink, and live for ever," still, 
without doing any violence to the meaning either of 
the symbols, or of the words explicatory of them, we 
might have been told that all that was meant was an 
emblematical representation of the tendency and 
design of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, to make men 
good, and wise, and happy. But it is impossible thus 
to give meaning to the emblems in the Lord's Sup- 
per, as explained by our Lord, without admitting, 
that the incarnation and the atonement, are essential 
parts of Christianity : and the same evidence which 
proves Christianity to be divine, proves this to be 
Christianity. The doctrine of salvation, through the 
sufferings and death of Jesus Christ, as the substitute 
of sinners, is so wrought into the very substance of 
this ordinance, that no ingenuity can extract it. So 
long as the Lord's Supper continues in the church 
-—so long as the words of the institution are repeat** 
ed, and the instituted symbols displayed, there never 
shall be wanting in the church a clear demonstration 
that the death of the Son of God, as a sacrifice for sin, 
was a doctrine of the primitive age of Christianity. 

It is thus that the Lord's Supper confirms, as well 
as exhibits the leading principles pf Christianity ; 
and it is thus that it answers to the description which 
is often given of it as a sealing ordinance. , To this 
denomination, which, by the way, is not a scriptural 
one, very confused, and, in some cases, dangerously 
Bdistaken ideas are attached. The covenant of mercy 
was ratified, or sealed, by the blood of the Son of 
God, shed on Calvary ; and of this biood-sheddingy 
the Lord's Supper is not the repetition, but the com- 
' memoration : and as to the Lord's Supper sealing to 
the recipient his individual interest in the blessingj^ 


seeored by that covenant, the only scriptural idea 
that can be attached to these words is, that this or- 
dinance is fitted as an exhibition both of truth and 
its evidence, to confirm that faith in the Gospel, 
which at once connects us with the Savioui, and 
produces the 6onsciousness of enjoying some, and 
the well-grounded hope of enjoying all the blessings 
of his salvation. 

The Lord's Supper which is thus, on the part of 
him who instituted it, an emblematical exhibition and 
confirmation of the leading principles of Christianity, 
is, on the part of him who observes it, an emblema- 
tical expression of a state of mind and of heart, ac- 
cordant with this statement ofChristian truth and its 
evidence. And here lies one of the principal diffe- 
rences between the verbal exhibition of Christian 
truth and evidence, in the written or spoken gospel, 
and the emblematical exhibition of Christian truth 
and evidence in the Lord's Supper. In both cases, 
it is the duty of those to whom the exhibition is 
made, to meet it with a corresponding state of 
thought and affection ; but it is in the latter case 
only that a solemn profession of such an accordance 
of mind and heart is made. The taking the bread 
into our hands, and eating it, the taking the wine into 
our hands, and drinking it, are the appointed emble- 
matical method of professing our faith of the truths 
represented in this ordinance ; our reliance on Jesus 
Christ as our own Saviour, our unreserved submis- 
sion to his authority, and our cordial love to all who, 
through the faith of the truth, rely on this Saviour, 
and are interested in his salvation. 

The intelligent and believing communicant re- 
sponds, as it were, to the voice of the Saviour, " This 
is my body broken, my blood shed for many, for the 
remission of sins :" " It is thy body broken, it is thy 
blood shed for many, for the remission of sins. I know, 
and am sure, that this is a faithful saying, that Jesus 


Christ, God's Son in human nature, snfTered and di« 
ed in the room of sinners, to obtain their salvationi 
and that whosoever believeth in him shall not per- 
ish, but have everlasting life." 

But, in observing the Lord's Supper, there is more 
than an expression of the belief of the gospel testi- 
mony in its general form, as embodied in this emble- 
matic institution ; there is also a profession of per- 
sonal reliance on the Saviour's sufferings and death, 
as the expiation of our guilt, and the price of our 
salvation. This is the necessary and immediate re- 
sult of the belief of the testimony in its true extent, 
and is so closely connected with it, that it is not 
much to be wondered at if it has sometimes been in- 
dentified with it. The emblems, as explained by our 
Lord, not merely intimate in general that Christ died 
for men — for sinners ; but that he died for those in 
particular for whom this ordinance is intended, that 
is, for believers : — " This is my body broken for yoM, 
this is my blood shed for you." The state of mind 
and heart corresponding to such a declaration, is a 
personal reliance on the Saviour, a cordial reception 
of his salvation ; and the language of the conduct of^ 
the believing communicant is, my Lord and mt (vodi 
MV Saviour and my all. 

In the observance of the Lord's Supper, there is 
also a profession of an accordance of mind and heart 
with the view which the ordinance emblematically 
exhibits of the unity of the body of Christ. The be- 
lieving communicant embraces, in the arms of his 
affections, the whole brotherhood of believers, and 
the language of his conduct, in eating of the common 
loaf, and drinking out of the common cup of the 
Christian family, is, '' I love them all in the truth, 
for the truth's sake which is in them, and will abide 
in them for ever." The observation of the Lord's 
Supper does not imply in it a profession of a com- 
l^lete accordance of sentiment with every individual, 



or even with the religious body, along tvith whom we 
observe it. It implies a profession of our union with 
them in the faith of the truth, which the ordinance 
emblematically represents. It necessarily implies 
this, but it implies no more. 

Finally, in observing the Lord's Supper, there is 
plainly implied, a profession of unreserved and im- 
plicit submission to the authority of Jesus Christ. 
Tke ordinance, as we have shown above, is a positive 
institution. It involves in it an assertion of the au- 
thority of Jesus Christ over the conscience ; and the 
observance of the ordinance is an unequivocal ac- 
knowledgment of this authority. The only reason 
why we observe it is, that Jesus Christ has com- 
manded us to observe it ; and in observing it, we say, 
" We do this just because Christ has commanded us 
to do it, and we are ready to do whatever he com- 
mands us, and ask no better reason than that he hath 
conunanded us." When Jesus Christ puts the cup 
into our hands, he as it were says, "The man in 
whose hands this cup is found shall be my servant 
for ever ;" and on taking it, we as it were respond, 
" Truly< O Lord, we are thy servants — we are thy 
servants, thou hast loosed our bonds ; thine we are, 
and thee we will serve : we will walk in all thy com- 
mandments and ordinances blameless." 

This view of the Lord's Supper, as on the part of 
him who instituted it, an emblematical representa- 
tion and confirmation of the grand peculiarities of 
the Christian institution ; and on the part of him who 
observes it, an emblematical expression of a state of 
mind and of heart in accordance with this statement 
of Christian truth and its evidence, has at least this 
advantage, that it is completely free of mysticism ; 
it enables us distinctly to see why the observance of 
this ordinance should be restricted to persons pos- 
sessed of a peculiar character, to explain the manner 
ill which this ordinance contributes to spiritual im^* 


provement, and furnishes us with a plain, palpable 
rule, to ascertain whether we may safely observe the 
Lord's Supper, and to guide our devotional exercisei 
when at the communion table. 

The exclusion of all but genuine Christians from 
a right to observe the Lord's Supper, is not an arbi- 
trary arrangement : it rises out of the nature of the 
case, and, like all the appointments of the God of 
nature and of grace, is found characterized by wis- 
dom, equity, and benignity. How can a grossly ig- 
norant person derive any advantage from observing 
such an ordinance as the Lord's Supper ? To a mind 
in some measure enlightened in the meaning and 
evidence of Christian truth, the ordinance is calca* 
lated to recall and impress the great realities of the 
Christian economy, and to subject the whole of the 
inner man to their purifying and blissful influence. 
But to the man who does not know well who Jesus 
Christ is, in what his mediation consists, what made 
it necessary, what blessings he has procured for 
mankind, and how we, as individuals, are to obtain 
these blessings, of what intellectual or moral benefit 
can it possibly be to observe the Lord's Supper i He 
eats a little bread and drinks a little wine, and pro* 
fanes a divine institution^ and sinks himself deeper 
in guilt and delusion than ever. 

The unbeliever is obviously equally unfitted for 
deriving spiritual advantage from this ordinance, and 
indeed cannot observe it without making a false pro- 
fession — without *' lying, not to men, but to God." 
This remark is equally applicable to those who, in- 
stead of relying solely on Jesus Christ, crucified for 
salvation, are going about to establish their own 
righteousness, not submitting themselves to the 
righteousness of God — to those who are str^gers 
to the love of the Christian brotherhood — and tp 
those who are living in the habitual neglect or vio- 
lation of any of the laws of Jesus. From the very 


nature of the institution, it is impossible that such 
persons can engage in it without dishonouring God 
and injuring their own souls; and of course that law 
of Christ is a holy, and just, and good one, which for- 
bids such persons to approach the communion table. 

There is a beautiful unity of principle pervading 
all the various methods adopted in the scheme of 
grace, for promoting man's spiritual improvement. 
The truth as it is in Jesus, known, and believed, and 
meditated on, is the grand instrument by which the 
Holy Spirit performs all his wonders in ther new cre- 
ation. It is delightful to observe this principle ex- 
emplified even in the ritual part of Christianity. 
There are many who seem to ascribe a sort of ma- 
gical power to the Lord's Supper, The consecrated 
elements, as they like to phrase it (and with them 
consecration does not refer to the Saviours appoint- 
ment, but to the mysterious effects of certain words 
uttered by the officiating minister,) are considered 
as a species of talismans, of miraculous efficacy in 
guarding the soul from the attacks of the powers of 
darkness. The Lord's Supper does us good just in 
the same way as the gospel does us good. In both, 
the truth as it is in Jesus, in its meaning and evi- 
dence, is held forth to us, and just in the degree in 
which it is apprehended by us will we be made good 
and happy. It is a great mercy that the communi- 
cation of saving blessings by the Lord's Supper and 
other ordinances, is not confined those who can sa- 
tisfactorily explain to their own minds the manner 
in which these institutions work out their intended 
results. At the same time, there is no doubt that 
such knowledge is of high importance, and greatly 
and directly tends to promote both the holiness and 
. comfort of the true Christian. 

These observations will'be strangely misconceiv- 
ed, if they are considered by any one as intended to 
Cast into the shade the cardinal doctrine of the ne- 


cessity of the influence of the Holy Spirit, in order 
to our deriving saving advantage from the Lord's 
Supper. But the influence of the Holy Spirit ope- 
rates not miraculously, but according to the estab- 
lished laws of the human mind ; and in the Lord's 
Supper, it is by his fixing the mind, and keeping it 
fixed on the emblematical display of Christian truth 
and its evidence, that he renders the ordinance ef- 
fectual to the strengthening of our faith, and through 
the strengthening of our faith, to the general im- 
provement of our spiritual character. 

The work of self-inquiry, which, from the nature 
of the case, ought to precede our observing the 
Ijord's Supper, is often represented as a peculiarly 
difficult, and operose business ; but if the above 
views of that ordinance be correct, the point to be 
ascertained is brought within a narrow limit, and 
Httle, except an honest wish to know the truth, should 
be necessary, for the resolution of the question. If 
a man is ignorant of the way of salvation through 
Christ Jesus, if he does not really believe that the 
Son of God in human nature suffered and died, 
the just in the room of the unjust, tlmt he might 
bring them to God, it he does not rely on Jesus Christ, 
and on him alone, for salvation, if he does not love 
genuine Christians, just because they are genuine 
Christians, and if he habitually neglects or violates 
any of the laws of Jesus Christ, in his present con- 
dition, he is utterly incapacitated from deriving any 
spiritual advantage from this ordinance. And on 
the other hand, if a man understands and believes the 
testimony of God concerning his Son, trusts in him 
as his only and all-suflicient Saviour, loves all who 
love him, and are like him, and while conscious of 
much wanting and much wrong, has the testimony 
of his conscience, that he delights in the law of the 
Lord after the inward man, — such a person ought to 
avail himself of every opportunity of obeying Christ's 


•onunandment, '' Do this in remembrance of me," 
and may reasonably anticipate from such obedience, 
both spiritual enjoyment and improvement. 

If we wish to obtain either, however, it is of im- 
portance that we keep steadily in view the nature 
imd design of the Lord's Supper. When engaged 
in eating bread and drinking wine, in obedience to 
our Redeemer's command, our great endeavour 
should be to yield up our minds to the native influ- 
ence of the truth and its evidence, as represented to 
us in the ordinance. The business of the communi- 
cant is simple ; and were we in any good measure 
what we should be, easy. It is to look to Jesus, 
plainly set forth, crucified and slain — to behold the 
Lamb of God bearing and bearing away the sin of the 
world, and to allow these truths, so strikingly ex- 
hibited, so powerfully confirmed, to produce that love 
to God and to his Son, that penitence, humility, 
and resignation, that love to the brotherhood, and 
benevolence to all men, that weanedness from the 
world, and that earnest longing for a better one, 
which are their natural results. The best prepara- 
tion for comfortable, profitable communicating, is 
habitually to " let the word of Christ dwell in us 
richly." The more thoroughly we are acquainted 
^with Christian truth, the more firmly we believe it, 
the more readily will the instituted symbols in the 
Lord's Supper recall that truth and its evidence, and, 
under the influence of the good spirit, contribute the 
more to our sanctification and consolation. 

It is to the Bible that we have endeavoured to send 
our readers for their views of the nature and design 
of the Lord's Supper ; and it is to the Bible we would 
wish to send them, as furnishing them with the best 
of all " Sacramental Directories," the only infallible 
" Guide to the Lord's Table." At the same time, 
we are disposed to think, that, when kept in their 
own place, the^e Treatises, whether doctrinal or de- 


votional, which pious men have given to the world, 
on the Lord's Supper, may be turned to good account 
by the intelligent Christian. From almost all of 
them, important and useful instruction may be de- 
rived ; but, perhaps none of these Treatises possess 
more excellencies, and fewer defects, than Matthew 
Henry's Communicant's Companion. It is much 
more than a general account of the nature and de- 
sign of the Lord's Supper, and a set of rules for the 
observance of that institution ; it contains in it an 
admirable view of Christian doctrine, experience, and 
duty, and is peculiarly fitted to prevent persons from 
taking that insulated view of the ordinance, which, 
with too many, converts it into a mere rite, a " piece 
of bodily service, which profits little." It is distin- 
guished, in a high degree, by the characteristic good 
qualities of the minor works of its author, who, on a 
scale of literary merit, graduated on the principle 
which will regulate the judgment of the last day, 
would occupy a high place among English writers. 
It is very plain, very pious, and very practical. 
There is a simplicity, a naturalness, and a familiarity, 
which renders it peculiarly delightful reading, and 
makes us almost fancy ourselves enjoying the con- 
versation of its venerable Author. With these views 
of the following Treatise, we cannot but apprehend 
that much good must be derived from its attentive, 
prayerful perusal ; but the advice we would give, as 
to reading this or any other human composition, is 
that of the apostle — ** prove all things, hold fast 


J. B. 

Mdmhnrgh^ April, 1825. 





1. We call it the Sacrament ; that is, a sign and an oath. 
2. The Lord's Supper ; a supper, our Lord's Supper. 3. 
The Communion ; having in it communion with Christ, 
and with the universal church. 4. The Eucharist ; Christ 
in the institution of it gave thanks, and we in the partici- 
pation. 5. The Feast ; a roval feast, a marriage feast, a 
feast of memorial, a feast of dedication, a feast uppn a sa* 
crifice, and a feast ui>on a covenant. 



1. It is a commemorating Ordinance, in remembrance 
of the person of Christ, as an absent friend, and of the 
death of Christ, as an ancient favour. Hereby we pre- 
serve the memory of it in the church, and revive the re- 
membrance of it in our hearts. 2. It is a Confessing Or- 
dinance; we profess our value and esteem for Christ 
crucified and our dependence upon, and confidence in 
Christ crucified. 3. It is a Communicating Ordinance; 
Christ and all his benefits are here communicated to us, and 
are here to be received by us. 4. It is a Covenanting Ordi- 
nance ; it is the New Testament, and the new covenant, 
opened distinctly ; God seals to us to be to us a God, and 
we seal to him to be to him a people. 





All things are ready, (opened in many particulars) 
therefore come. 1. Those that are unmeet for this ordi- 
nance, must qualify themselves and come ; a serious ad- 
dress to such in three things. 2. Those that are in some 
measure meet for it, must enter themselves. Young peo- 
ple reasoned with in four questions ; those who are cold 
and indifferent, put upon considering two things ; those 
that are timorous counselled and encouraged in two 
things. 3. Those that have given up themselves to Grod 
in this ordinance must be constant ; this largely urged. 




What it is to examine ourselves, illustrated in six simi- 
litudes, particularly six questions to be put to ourselves. 
1. What am I ? Four inquiries by which to find out what 
our spii^tual state is ; two directions what to do thereup- 
on. 2. What have I done ? Twelve questions to be put 
to ourselves, to bring to remembrance, and directions 
thereupon. 3. What am I doing ? In two things. 4. What 
ground do I get ? Four questions by which to try our 

frowth in grace. 5. What do I want? What grace? 
^That comfort ? 6. What shall I resolve to do ? In two 




I. In what method we must renew our covenant with 
God. 1. We must repent of our sins, by which we have 
rendered ourselves unworthy to be taken into covenant. 
Three things to be lamented. 2. We must renounce the 
devil, the world, arid the flesh ; opened in three things. 3. 
We must receive Christ as offered to us, consenting to 
his grace, and to his government. 4. We must resign, 
and give up ourselves to God in Christ ; devote ourselves 



to his praise, and submit ourselves to his power in three 
things. 5. We must resolve to abide in it ; opened in two 
things. 6. We must rely on the righteousness and strength 
of Christ herein ; opened in two things. II. After what 
manner we must renew our covenant ; intelligently, consi- 
derately, humbly, cheerfully, and in sincerity. 



I. Of meditation, opened in general. It is thought en- 
gaged, and thought inflamed, particularly meditate, 1. 
On the sinfulness and misery of man's fallen state. 2. The 
glory of God's attributes in man's redemption. 3. The 
person of the Redeemer and his undertakings, 4. His 
sufferings. 5. His present glories. 6. The riches of the 
new covenant. 7. The communion of saints, and the 
happiness of heaven. All these enlarged upon. II. Of 
prayer ; why we must pray before the sacrament, and 
what we must pray for ; four things to be prayed for. 




1. With a fixedness of thought. 2. With an easiness 
and calmness of affection. 3. With a holy awe and reve- 
rence of the Divine Majesty. 4. With a holy jealou^ 
over ourselves, and a humble sense of our own unworthi- 
ness, suspecting ourselves, and abasing ourselves. 5, 
With a gracious confidence as children to a father. 6. 
With eameast desires towards Grod. 7. With raised ex- 
pectations. 8. With rejoicing and thanksgiving; two 
things matter of joy. 9. In charity with all men, and a 
fiincePe affection to all good Christians, bearing ill-will to 
none, and good^will to alL 







I. In general, come and see the Lamb that had been 
slain, opening the seals. II. In particular : — 1. See the 
evil of sin. 2. See the justice of God ; in two things. 3. 
See the love of Christ ; opened in six properties of that 
love. 4. See the conquest of Satan; how Christ con- 
quered Satan in two things. 5. See the worth of souls; 
two inferences from that sight. 6. See the purchase of 
the blessings of the new covenant ; opened in two things. 




1. The pardon and forgivenass of our sins ; a renewed 
pardon of daily trespasses, and a confirmed pardon of all 
tiespasses. 2. The adoption of sons ; the privileges of 
adoption, and the spirit of adoption. 3. Peace and satis- 
faction to our minds ; opened in two things. 4. Supplies 
of grace, confirming gracious habits, quickening gracious 
acts, instances of both. 5. The earnests of eternal bliss 
and joy, the assurances of it, and the foretastes of it. 




1. Here we must be sorry for em ; three things here to 
excite this sorrow. 2. Confiding in Christ, in his power, 
in his promise. 3. Dehghting in God ; three things to be 
thought of with pleasure. 4. Admiring the mysteries and 
miracles of redeeming love ; seven things instanced as 
marvellous. 5. Caring what we shall render ^ sevan 
things which we must render. 





Four reasons why, at the Lord's Supper, we must make 
vows. 1. We must by solemn vows bind ourselves up 
from all sin ; largely opened in five things. 2. We must 
bind ourselves up to idl duty. To the duties of religion 
in general ; opened in four things. To some duties of 
religion especially ; opened in four things. Duties which 
w^e have most neglected, which we nave experienced 
most benefit by, which we have most opportunity for ; 
and the duties of our respective callings and relations. 




1. We must come from this ordinance admiring the 
condescension of the divine grace to us ; considering our 
meanness by nature, and our vileness by sin. 2. Lament- 
ing our manifold defects, either trembling, or at least 
blushing. 3. Rejoicing in Christ, and the great love where- 
with \ie hath loved us ; expressing itself in praises to God, 
and encouragements to ourselves. 4. Much quickening 
to every good work. 5. W;th a watchful fear of Satan's 
vnles, and a firm resolution to stand our ground against 
them. Let us therefore fear and therefore fix. 6. Pray- 
ing that God will fulfil his promises to us, and enable us 
to fulfil ours to him. 7. With a charitable disposition, 
to love our feUow-christians, to give to the poor, and for- 
give injuries. 8. Longing for heaven. Our complaints 
and our comforts shoidd make us long for heaven. 




1. In general we must live so as to adorn our profes- 
sion. 2. To fulfil our engagements. 3. To make gratefiil 



returns for fevours shown us. 4. To preserve the com- 
forts we have tasted. 5. To evidence our communion 
with God. 1. In particular, we must be, sincerely devout 
and pious. 2. Conscientiously just and honest. 3. Reli- 
giously meek and peaceable. 4. Strictly sober and chaste. 
5. Abundantly charitable and beneficent. 6. More wean- 
ed from this world, and more taken up viith another. 




Four things premised. This ordinance may comfort 
us, 1. Against the remembrance of our former sins and 
provocations. 2. Against the sense of our sins of daily 
infirmities. 3. Against the sad remainders of indwelling 
corruption. 4. Against prevailing doubts and fears 
about the spiritual state. 5. Against the troubles and ca- 
lamities of this Ufe. 6. Against the fears of death. 


I HERE humbly offer you, Christian reader, some 
assistance in that great and good work, which you 
have to do, and are concerned to do well, when you 
attend the table of your Lord ; a work in which I 
have observed most serious people desirous of help, 
and willing to use the helps they have: which I 
confess was one thing that invited me to this under- 

I offer this service with all due deference and re- 
spect to the many excellent performances of this 
kind, with which we are already blessed, done by far 
better hands than mine ; who yet have not so fully 
gathered in this harvest, but that those who come 
after may gather up plentiful gleanings, without rob- 
bing their sheaves. — " Lord, it is done as thou hast 
commanded, and yet there is room ;" room enough 
to enlarge upon a subject so copious, and of so great 
a compass that it cannot be exhausted. 

I do this also with a just sense of my own unwor- 
thiness, and unfitness to bear the vessels of the Lord, 
and to do any service in his sanctuary. Who am I, 
and what is my father's house, that I should have 
the honour to be ." a door keeper in the house of my 
God," to show his guests the way to his table ? And 


that 1 should be employed thus to " hew wood, and 
draw water for the congregation of the Lord ?" I 
reckon it true preferment, and " by the grace of 
God," his free grace, " I am what I am." It is ser- 
vice which is its own recompense. Work which is 
its own wages. In helping to feed others, we may 
feast ourselves ; for our master hath provided that 
the mouth of the ox be not muzzled when he treads 
out the corn. For my part, I would not exchange 
the pleasure of converse with the Scriptures and di- 
vine things, for all "the delight of the sons and 
daughters of men, and the peculiar treasures of kings 
and provinces." It was a noble saying of the Mar- 
quis of Vico, " Let their money perish with them, 
who esteem all the wealth of this world worth one 
hours communion with God in Jesus Christ." 

In doing this, I hope I can truly say, my desire 
and design is to contribute somethiilg to the faith, 
holiness, and joy of those who in this ordinance have 
given up their names to the Lord Jesus. And if 
God, by his grace, will make this endeavour in some 
degree serviceable to that end, I have what I wish, 
I have what I aim at ; and it will not be the first 
time that praise hath been " perfected, and strength 
ordained out of the mouths of babes and sucklings." 

In this essay I have an eye particularly to that 
little hahdful of people among whom I have been 
(in much weakness) ministering in these holy things 
seventeen years ; during all which time, through the 
good hand of our God upon us, we have never once 
been disappointed of the stated solemnities, either of 
our new moons, or of our sabbaths. As I designed 
my Scripture Catechism, and the other little one that 
follo\ied it, to be a present, and perhaps ere long it 
may prove my legacy to the young ones, the lambs 
of the flock ; so I recommend this to the adult, and 
leave it with thorn, being desirous thut the sheep we 
are charged to feed, " may go in and out, and find 


pasture.'* And I earnestly wish, that both these may 
prove successful expedients to preserve some of those 
things they have been taught from being quite for- 
gotten ; and that, after my decease, they and theirs 
virill have those things always in remembrance. 

And lastly, I send this abroad under the protec- 
tion and blessing of heaven ; with a hearty prayer to 
God to forgive whatever is mine, that is, what is amiss 
and defective in the performance ; and graciously to 
accept what is his own, that is, whatever is good and 
profitable ; hoping that, if God pardon my defects 
and infirmities, my friends also will overlook them ; 
and that, if he favourably accept my endeavours 
through Christ, they also will accept them ; for truly - 
it is the height of my ambition to approve myself 

A faithful Servant to Christ and Souls, 


Chester, June 2ist, 1704. 







In discoursing of this great and solemn ordinance, which 
every serious Christian looks upon with a peculiar regard 
and veneration, I purpose, as God shall enable me, to open 
the doctrine as well as the duty of it: it will therefore be 
proper enough, and I ^ope profitabl^^ to take some notice 
of the several names by which it is known. 

I. We call it the sacrament This is the name we com- 
monly give ity but improperly, because it doth not distin- 
guish it from the ordinance of l^iptism, which is as much a 
sacrament as this ; a sacrament which we have all received, 
by which we are all bound, and are concerned to improve, 
and live up to : but, when we call this ordinance, the sacra- 
ment, we ought to remind ourselves that it is a sacrament ; 
that is, it is a sign, and it is an oath. 

1. It is a sign, an outward and visible sign of an inward 

and spiritual grace ; for such sacraments are designed to 

be. It is a parable to the eye ; and in it God uses similitudes, 

as he did of old by his servants the prophets. In it Christ 



lells us earthly things, that thereby we may come to be more 
familiarly acquainted, and more warmly affected, with spirit- 
ual and heavenly things. In it Christ speaks to us in our 
own language, and accommodates himself to the capacities of 
our present state. Man consists of body and soul, and the 
soul admits impressions, and exerts its power, by the body ; 
here is an ordinance, therefore, which consists of body and 
soul too, wherein Christ, and the benefits of the new cove- 
nant, are, in the instituted elements of bread and wine, set 
before us, and offered to us. We live in a world of sense, not 
yet in a world of spirits ; and, because we therefore find it 
hard to look above the things that are seen, we are directed, 
in a sacrament, to look through them, to those things not 
seen, which are represented by them. That things merely 
sensible, may not improve the advantage they have from our 
present state, wholly to engross our thoughts and cares, 
in compassion to our infirmity, spiritual things are in this 
ordinance made in a manner sensible. 

Let us, therefore, rest contented with this sign which 
Christ hath appointed, in which he is *' evidently set forth 
crucified among us," and not think it can be any honour to 
him, or advantage to ourselves, but, on the contrary a dis- 
honour to him, and an injury to ourselves, to represent, by 
fi^tnages and pictures, the same things of which this ordi- 
nance was designed to be the representation. If infinite 
wisdom thought this sign sufficient, and most proper to af^ 
feet the heart, and excite devotion, and stamp it according- 
ly with an institution, let us acqui^ce in it. 

Yet let us not rest contented with the sign only, but con- 
verse by faith with the things signified, else we receive 
the grace of God in this appointment in vain ; and sacra- 
ments will be to us, what parables were to them that were 
wilfully blind, blinding them the more. What will it avail 
us to have the shadow without the substance, the letter 
without the Spirit ? ** As the body without the soul is 
dead," so our seeing and receiving bread and wine, if there- 
in we see and receive not Christ crucified, is dead also. 

2. It is an oath. — That is the ancient signification of the 
word sacrament. The Romans called the oath which sol- 
diers took to be true to their general, Sacramentum militare ; 
and our law still uses it in this sense : dicunt super sacramen- 


(urn suuniy " they say upon their oath ;" so that to take the 
sacrament, is to take an oath, a solemn oath, by which we 
bind our souls with a bond unto the X^rd. It is an oath of 
allegiance to the Lord Jesus, by which we engage ourselves 
to be his dutiful and loyal subjects, acknowledging him to« 
be our rightful Lord and Sovereign. It is as a freeman's 
oath, by which we enter ourselves members of Christ's 
mystical body, and oblige ourselves to observe the laws, and 
seek the good of that Jerusalem which is from above, that 
we may enjoy the privileges of that great charter by which 
it is incorporated. An oath is an appeal to God's knowl- 
edge of our sincerity and truth in what we assert or prom- 
ise ; and in this ordinance we make such an appeal as St. 
Peter did : " I^rd, thou knowest all things, thou knowest 
that I love thee." An oath is an imprecation of God's 
wrath upon ourselves, if we deal falsely, and wilfully pre- 
varicate ; and something of that also there is in this sacra- 
ment ; for if we continue in league with sin, while we pre- 
tend to covenant with God, '' we eat and drink judgment to 

Let us, therefore, according to the character of a virtuous 
man, fear this oath ; not fear to take it, for it is our duty, 
with all possible solemnity, to oblige ourselves to the Lord ; 
but fear to break it, for oaths are not to be jested with. 
God hath said it, and hath sworn it by himself; '* Unto me 
every tongue shall swear." But he hath also said, that we 
must swear to him *^ in truth, in judgment, and in righteous- 
ness ;" and having sworn, we must perform it. If we 
come to this sacrament carelessly and inconsiderately, we 
incur the guilt of rash swearing ; if we go away from the 
sacrament, and walk contrary to the engagements of it, we 
incur the guilt of false swearing. Even natural religion 
teacheth men to make C/onscience of an oath ; much more 
doth the Christian religion teach us to make conscience of 
this oath, to which God is not only a witness, but a party. 

II. We call it the Lord's Supper, and very properly, for 
so the Scripture calls it, (1 Cor. xi. 20.) where the Apos- 
tlCj reproving the irregularities that were among the Corin- 
thians in the administration of this ordinance, tells them,, 
" This is not to eat the Lord's Supper." 

40 . 

1. It is a sapper.-^A supper is a stated meal for the 
body ; this is so for the soul, which stands in as much need 
of its daily bread as the body doth. Supper was then ac» 
counted the principal meal ; this ordinance is so among 
Christ's friends, and in his family it is the most solemn en- 
tertainment. It is called a supper, because it was first in- 
stituted in the evening, and at the close of the passover-sup- 
per ; which, though it tie not us always to administer it 
about that time, because it would be inconvenient for reli- 
gious assemblies ; ypt it signifies, 1st, That Christ now, 
in the end of the world, in the declining part of its day, as 
the great evening sacrifice, " hath appeared to put away 
sin.'* This glorious discovery was reserved for us, " upon 
whom the ends of the world are come." 2d, That com- 
fort in Christ is intended for those, only that dwell in God's 
bouse, and for those only that have done the work of tlie 
day in its day, according as the duty of every day required. 

They only that work with Christ, shall eat with him. 26, 
That the chief blessings of the new covenant are reserved 
for the evening of the day of our life. The evening feast 
is a supper designed for us, when we have ** accomplfshed 
as a hireling our day," and come home at night 

2. It is the Lord's Supper, the Lord Christ's Supper. — 
The apostle, in his discourse concerning this ordinance, 
all along calls Christ the Lord, and seems to lay an emphasis 
upon it : for as the ordaining of this sacrament was an act 
of his dominion, and as lord of his church he appointed it ; 
so, in receiving this sacrament, we own his dominion, and 
acknowledge him to be our Lord. This also puts an hon- 
our upon the ordinance, and makes it look truly great; how- 
ever, to a carnal eye it hath no form nor comeliness, that it 
is the Supper of the Lord. The sanction of this ordinance, 
is the authority of Christ; the substance of this ordi- 
nance, is the grace of Christ. It is celebrated in obedience 
to him, in remembrance of him, and for his praise. Justly 
is it called the Lord's Supper ; for it is the Lord Jesus that 
sends the invitation, makes the provision, gives the enter- 
tainment. In it we feed upon Christ, for he is the bread 
of life ; we feed with Christ, for he is our beloved and our 
friend, and he it is that bids us welcome to his table. In it 
^' Christ sups with us, and we with him ^ he doth us the 


honour to sup with us, though he must hring his own enter- 
tainment along with him ; he gives us the happiness of 
supping with him upon the dainties of heaven. 

Let our eye, therefore, he to the Lord, to the Lord 
Christ, and to the remembrance of his name, in this ordi-- 
nance. We see nothing here, if we see not the beauty of 
Christ ; we taste nothing here, if we taste not the love of 
Christ. The Lord must be Idbked upon as the Alpha and 
the Omega, the beginning and the end, and all in all in 
this solemnity. If we receive not Christ Jesus the Lord : 
here, we have the supper, but not the Lord's Supper. 

III. We call it the Communion, the holy communion, 
and fitly do we call it so : for, 

1. In this ordinance we have communion with Christ, 
our head. " Truly our fellowship is with him." He here 
manifests himself to us, and gives out to us his graces and 
comforts ; we here set ourselves before him, and tender him 
the greatful returns of love and duty. A kind correspon* 
dence between Christ and our souls is kept up in this ordi- 
nance, such as our present state will admit Christ, by his 
word and ^irit, abides in us ; we by faith and love abide in 
liim : here, therefore, where Christ seads his word, and 
offers his Spirit, and where we exercise our faith, and have 
our love inflamed, there is communion between us and 

This communion supposeth union ; this fellowship sup- 
poseth friendship ; for, '^ can two walk together except 
they be agreed f' We must, therefore, in the bond of an 
everlasting covenant, join ourselves to the Lord, and com- 
bine our interests with' his ; and then, pursuant thereto, 
concern him in all the concerns of our happiness ; and con- 
cern ourselves in all the concerns of his glory. 

2. In this ordinance we have communion with the uni- 
versal church, '* even with all that in every place call on 
the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours." 

Hereby we profess, testify, and declare, that ** we, being 
many, are one bread and one body," by virtue of our com- 
mon relation to our Lord Jesus Christ ; " for we are all par« 
takers of that one bread, Christ, the bread of hfe," signi- 
fied and communicated in this sacramental bread. All 
true Christians, though they are many, yet they are one^ 


and we express our consent to, and complacency In that 
iini(»i, by partaking of the Lord's Sapper. I say, though 
they are many, that is, though they are numerous, yet, as a 
Tast number of creatures make one world, governed by one 
providence, so a vast number of Christians make one church, 
animated by one spirit, the soul of that great body. Though 
they are various, far distant from each other in place, of 
distinct societies, different attainments, and divers appre- 
hensions in lesser things ; yet, all meeting in Christ, they 
are one. They are all incorporated in one and the same 
church, all interested in one and the same covenant, all 
stamped with one and the same image, partakers of the 
same new and divine nature, and all entitled to one and the 
same inheritance. In the Lord's Supper we are " made to 
drink into one spirit." And therefore, in attending on 
that ordinance, we are concerned not only to preserve, but 
to cultivate and improve Christian love and charity , for 
what will this badge of union avail us without the unity of 
the spirit 1 

IV. We call it the Eucharist ; so the Greek church cal- 
led it, and we from them. It signifies a thanksgiving, and 
it is so called : 

i. Because Christ in the institution of it gave thanks. 
It should seem that Christ frequently offered up his pray- 
ers in the form of thanksgivings, as ** Father, I thank thee 
that thou hast heard me ;" and so he blessed the bread 
and the cup, by giving thanks over them ; as the true Mel-' 
chisedeCy who, when he " brought forth bread and wine to 
Abraham, blessed the most high God." Though our Sa- 
viour, when he instituted the sacrament, had a full pros- 
pect of his approaching sufferings, with all their aggra- 
vations, yet he was not thereby indisposed for thanksgivings 
for praising God is a work that is never out of season. 

Though the Captain of our salvation was now but gird* 
ing on the harness, yet he gives thanks as though he had 
put it off, being confident of a glorious victory ; in the pros- 
pect of which, even before he took the field, he did in thie 
ordinance divide the spoils among his followers, and " gave 
gifts unto men." 

2. Because we, in the participation of it^ must give 
thanks likewise.— It is an ordinance of tiianksgiving a]^ 


•ointied (at the joyful cetebrating of die Redeemer's praiseg* 
Thk sacrifice of atonement Christ himself offered once 
for aUy and it must not, it cannot be repeated ; bat sacrifi* 
ces of acknowledgment Christians must offer daily, that is, 
" the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.^ The 
eup of salvation must be a cup of blessing, with which^ 
and for which, we must bless God, as the Jews were wont 
to do very solemnly at the close of the passoirer supper , at 
which time Christ chose to institute this sacrament, because 
he intended it for a perpetual thanksgiving; till we ccmie 
to the world of praise. 

Come, therefore, and let us sing unto the Lord in this 
ordinance ; let the high praises of our Redeemer be in our 
mouths and in our hearts ; would we have the comfort, let 
him have the praise of the great things he hath done for 
us ; let us remember that thank«giving is the busuiess of 
the ordinance, and let that turn our complaints into prais- 
es ; for, whatever matter of complaint we find in ourselves, 
in Christ we find abundant matter for praise, and that is 
the pleasant subject upon which, in this ordinance, we should 

V. We call it the feast, the Christian feast. Christ 
'' our passover being sacrificed for us," in this ordinance 
we kept the feast. They that communicate are said to 
feast with us. This name though not commonly used, yet 
it is very significant ; for it is such a supper as is a feast. 
€k>spel preparations are frequently compared to a feast : 
" And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto 
all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees.; 
of fet things fuU of marrow, of wines on the lees well re- 
fined." The guests are many, the invitation solemn, and 
the provision rich and plentiful, and therefore fitly is cal- 
led a feast of souls : ** a feast is made for laughter,'' so is 
this for spiritual joy ; the wine here designed to make glad 
the heart. A feast is made for free conversation, so is this 
for communion between heaven and earth ; in this ban- 
ffuet of wine the golden sceptre is held out to us, and thitf 
nir proposal made, ** What is thy petition^ and it shall be 
granted thee V* 

Let us see what kind of a feast it is. 

1, It is a royal feast ; ** a feast like the feast of a king/* 


tkat is, a magnificent feast. It is a feast like that of 
king Ahasuerus : *' A feast for all his servants/' and 
designed, as that was, not only to show his good will 
to those whom he had feasted, bat to " show the riches of 
his glorious' kingdom^ and the honour of hia excellent ma^^ 
jesty." The treasuries hid in Christ, even his unsearchable 
riches, are here set open, and the glories of the Redeemer 
illustriously displayed tie who is King of kings, and 
Lord of lords, here issues out the same order that we fipd 
him giving : '^ Come gather yourselves together to the sup- 
per of the great God ;" and that must needs be a great sup* 
per. The wisest of kings introduceth Wisdom herself as 
a queen or princess making this feast : " Wisdom hath kil* 
led her beasts, and mingled her wine." At a royal feast^ 
the prevision, we may be sure, is rich and noble, such as 
becomes a king to give, though not such beggars as we are 
to expect ; the welcome also we may be sure is free and 
generous ; Christ gives like a king. 

Let us remember, that in this ordinance, we sit to eat 
with a Ruler, with a Ruler of rulers, and therefore " must 
consider diligently what is before us," and observe a deco- 
rum. He is a King that comes in to see the guests, and 
therefore we are concerned to behave ourselves well. 

2. It is a marriage-feast ; it is a feast made by a King, 
at the marriage of his son : so our Saviour represents it, 
not only to speak exceeding rich and sumptuous, and cele- 
brated with extraordinary expressions of joy and rejoicing, 
but because the covenant here sealed between Christ and 
his church is a marriage-covenant, such a covenant as 
makes two one ; a covenant founded in the dearest love, 
founding the nearest relation, and designed to be perpet- 
ual. In this ordinance 1st, We celebrate the memorial of 
the virtual espousals of the church of C'hrist when he died 
upon the cross, to " sanctify and cleanse it, that he might 
present it to himself." ^* That was the day of his espou- 
sals, the day of the gladness of his heart." 2d, The w> 
tual espousals of believing souls to Christ, are here solemn- 
ized, and that agreement ratified : My beloved is mine, and 
I am his." The soul that renounces all other lovers 
that stand in competition with the Lord Jesus, and joins 
itself by faith and love to him only, is in this ordinance 


^* presented as a chaste firgin to him." dd, A pledge and 
earnest of the public and complete espousals of the church 
of Christ at his second coming, is here given ; ** then the 
marriage of the Lamb comes," and we, according to his 
promise, hereby declare that we look for it. 

If we come to a marriage-feast, we must not come with- 
out a wedding garment, that is, a frame of heart and a dis- 
poBitioih of soul agreeable to the solemnity, conformable to 
the nature, and answering the intentions of the gospel, as 
it is exhibited to us in this ordinance. " Holy garments, 
and garments of praise," are the wedding garments ; " Put 
on Christ, put on the new man," these are the v^edding 
garments. In these we must, with our lamps in our hands, 
as the wise virgins, go forth, with all due observance, t% 
attend the roysd bridegroom. 

3. It is a feast of memorial, like the feast of the pas^ 
over, of which it is said '' This day shall be unto you f<Mr 
a memorial, and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord, — a 
feast by an ordinance fot ever." The deliverance of 
Israel out of Egypt was a work of wonder never to be for- 
gotten ; the feast of unleavened bread was therefore institu^ 
ted to be annuaUy observed throughout all the ages of the 
Jewish church, as a solemn memorial of that deliverance, 
that the truth of it being confirmed by this traditional evi- 
detice, might never be questioned ; and that the remem- 
brance of it, being frequently revived by this service, might 
never be lost. Our redemption by Christ from sin and 
hell, is a greater work of wonder than that was, more wor- 
thy to be remembered, and yet (the benefits that flow from 
it being spiritual) more apt to be forgotten ; this ordinance 
was therefore instituted, and instituted in the close of the 
passover supper, (as coming in the room of it) to be a 
standing memorial in the church, of the glorious achieve- 
ments of the Redeemer's cross ; the victories obtained by 
it over the powers of darkness, and the salvation wrought 
by it for the children of light. " Thus the Lord hadi 
made his wonderful works to be remembered." 

4. It is a feast of dedication. — Solomon made such a 
feast for all Israel, when he dedicated the temple as his fa^ 
ther David had done, when he brought the ark into the ta- 
bernacle. Even the children of the ci^tivity ''kept th% det^ 


ication of the house of God with joy.'' In the ordinance of 
the Lord's Supper, we dedicate ourselves to God as living 
temples ; temples of the Holy Ghost, separated from every 
thing that is common and profane, and entirely devoted to 
the service and honour of God in Christ. To show that 
we do this with cheerfulness and satisfaction, and that it 
may be done with an agreeable solemnity, this feast is i^ 
pointed for the doing of it, that we may, like the ipeAple of 
Israel, when Solomon dismissed them from his feast of dedi- 
cation : " Go to your tents joyful, and glad of heart, for all 
the goodness that the Lord hath done for David his servant, 
and for Israel his people." 

5. It is a feast upon a sacrifice. — This, methinks, is as 
proper a notion of it as any other. It was the law and 
custom of sacrifices, both among the Jews, and in other 
nations, that when the beast offered was slain, the blood 
sprinkled, the fat, and some select parts of it burnt upon 
the altar, and the priest had his share out of it, then the 
remainder was given back to the offerer ; on which he 
and his family and friends feasted with joy. Hence we 
read of Israel after the flesh, eating the sacrifices, and so 
partaking of the altar: '* Behold Israel afler the flesh. 
Are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the 
altar ?" That is, in token of their partaking of the bene- 
fit of the sacrifice, and their joy therein. And this eating 
of the sacrifice was a religious rite, expressive of their 
communion with God in and by the sacrifice. 

1st, Jesus Christ is the great and only sacrifice, who, hyr 
being " once offered, perfected for ever them which are 
sanctified ;" and this offering need never be repeated, 
that once was sufficient. 

2d, The I^ord's Supper is a feast upon this sacrifice, in 
which we receive the atonement, as the expression is : 
*' And not only so, but we also joy in God, through our Lord 
Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atone- 
ment." That is, we give consent to, and take complacen- 
. cy in the method which infinite wisdom hath taken of jus- 
tifying and saving us by the merit and mediation of the 
Son of God incarnate. In feasting upon the sacrifice, we 
apply the benefit of it to ourselves, and ascribe the praise 
of it to God with joy and thankfulness. 


6. It is a feast upon a coTenant. — The covenant between 
Isaac and Abimelech was made with a feast. So was that 
between Laban and Jacob, and their feasting upon the sac- 
rifices was a federal rite, in token of peace and communion 
between God and his people. In the Lord's Supper we 
are admitted to feast with God, in token of reconciliation 
between us and him through Christ. Though we have pro- 
voked God, and been enemies to him in our minds by wicked 
works, yet he thus graciously provides for us, to show that 
now *' he hath reconciled us to himself." His enemies hun- 
gering, he thus feeds them ; thirsting, he thus gives them 
drink ; which if, like coals of fire heaped upon their heads, 
it melts them into a compliance with the terms of his cove- 
nant, they shall henceforth, as his own familiar firiends, eat 
bread at his table continually, till they come to sit down 
with him at his table in his kingdom. 





When the Jews, according to God's appointment^ ob- 
served the paflsover yearly throughout their generations^ it 
was supposed that their children would ask them, ** What 
siean you by this service V* and they were directed what 
answer to give to that enquiry. The question may very 
fitly be ask^ concerning our gospel passover. What mean 
we by this service 1 We come together in a public aad 
select assembly of baptized Christians, under the conduct 
and presidency of a gospel minister ; we take bread and 
wine, sanctified by the word and prayer, and we eat and 
drink together in a solemn religious manner, with an eye to 
a divine institution, as our warrant and rule in so doing. 
This we do often ^ this all the churches of Christ do, and 
have done in every age, from the death of Christ down to 
this day ; and, we doubt not, but it will continue to be done 
till time shall be no more. Now, what is the true intent 
and meaning of this ordinance ? What did Christ design 
it for in the institution ? And what must we aim at in the 
observation of it? 

It was appointed to be a commemorating ordinance, and 
a confessing ordinance, and a communicating ordinance, 
and a covenanting ordinance. 

I. The ordinance of the Lord's Supper is a commemo- 
rating ordinance. This explanation our Lord himself gave 
of it, when he said, ^' Do this in remembrance of me." 
Do it for my memorial. Do it for a remembrance of me. 
In this ordinance he hath recorded his name for ever^ and 
this is his memorial throughout all generations. 

We are to do this, 

1. In remembrance of the person of Christ, as an absent 
friend of ours. — It is a common ceremony of friendship tm 
lay up something in remembrance of a friend we have valu- 
ed, which we say, we keep for hb sake, when he is gone. 


or is at a distance ; it is usual likewise to drink to one ano- 
ther, remembering such a friend that is absent. ■ Jesus 
Christ is our beloved and our friend, the best friend that 
ever our souls had ; he is now absent, he hath left the 
world, and is gone to the Father, and the heavens must 
contain him till the time of the restitution of all things. 

Now, this ordinance is appointed for a remembrance of 
him. We observe it in token of this, that though the 
blessed Jesus be out of sight, he is not out of mind. He 
that instituted this ordinance, did, as it were, engrave this 
on it for a motto : — 

When this you see, 
Remember me. 

Remember him ! Is there any danger of our forgetting 
him? If we were not wretchedly taken up with the world 
and the flesh, and strangely careless in the concerns of 
our souls, we could not forget him. But, in consideration 
of the treachery of our memories, this ordinance is iq)- 
pointed to remind us of Christ. 

Ought we not to remember, and can we ever forget such 
a friend as Christ is ? A friend that is our near and dear 
relation ; '' bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, and not 
ashamed to call us brethren 1" A friend in covenant with 
us, who puts more honour upon us than we deserve, when 
he calls us his servants, and yet is pleased to call us friends. 
A friend that hath so wonderfully signalized his friendship, 
and commended his love : he hath done that for us which 
no friend we have in the world did, or could do for us : he 
hath laid down his life for us, when the redemption of our 
souls was grown so precious, as otherwise to have ceased 
for ever. Surely we must forget ourselves if ever we for- 
get him, since our happiness is entirely owing to his kindness. 

Ought wenot to remember, and can we ever forget a friend, 
who, though he be absent from us, is negotiating our affairs, 
and is really absent for us ? He is gone, but he is gone 
upon our business ; as the forerunner, he is for us entered ; 
he is gone to appear in the presence of God for us, as our 
agent. Can we be unmindful of him who is always mind- 
ful of us, and who, as the great High Priest of our profes- 
sion, bears the names of all his spiritual Israel on his breast- 
{)late, near his heart within the vail ? 


Ought we not to remember, and can we ever forget a 
friend, who, though he be now absent, will be absent but a 
while ? We see lum not, but we expect to see him shortly, 
when he will '' c(»ne in the clouds, and every eye shall see 
him ;" will come to receive us to himself, to share in his joy 
and glory. Shall we not be glad of any thing that helps us to 
remember him, who not only remembered us once in our 
low estate, but, having once remembered us, will never 
forget us? Shall not his name be written in indelible cha- 
racters upon the tables of our heart, who hath graven us 
upon the palms of his hands ? Surely we must continually 
remember our Judge and Lord, when behold the Lord is 
at hand, and the Judge standeth before the door. Thus 
must we show him forUi till he come ; for he comes quickly. 

2. We are to do this in the remembrance of the death 
of Christ, as an ancient favour done to us. This ordinance 
was instituted on the night wherein our Master was betray- 
ed, that night of observations, as the first passover night is 
called, (Ex. xii. 42. margin) which intimateth the special 
reference this ordinance was to have to that which was 
<lone that night, and the day fdlowing. In it we are " to 
know Christ and him crucified," to remember his sufferings, 
and, in a special manner, to remember his bonds. AH Uie 
saints and all the churches could not see Christ upon the 
cross ; therefore, in this ordinance, that great transaction is 
set before us, upon which the judgment of this world turn- 
ed : " Now is the judgment of this world." Here we re- 
member the dying of the Lord Jesus ; that is : 

1st, We endeavour to preserve the memory of it in the 
church, and to transmit it pure and entire through our age, 
to the children which shall be born, that the remembrance 
of it may be ever fresh, and may not die in our hand. That 
good thing which was committed to us as a trust, we must 
thus carefully keep, and faithfully deliver down to the next 
generation; evidencing, that we firmly believe, and fire- 
quenUy think of Christ's dying for us, and desiring that 
those who should come afler us may do so too. 

2d, We endeavour to revive and incite the remembrance 
of it in our own hearts. — ^This ordinance was intended " to 
stir up our pure minds," (our impure minds we have too much 
reason to call them,) by way of remembrance, that, giving 


such an earnest heed to the things that belong to the great 
salvation, as the solemnity of this ordinance calls for, we 
may not at any time let them slip ; or if we do, we may in 
the use thereof, speedily recover them. The instituted 
iaaages of Christ crucified, are, in this ordinance, very 
strong and lively, and proper to make deep impressions of 
his grace and love, upon the minds that are prepared to re- 
ceiTe them, and such as cannot be worn out. 

We see then, what we have to do in our attendance upon 
this ordinance ; we must remember the sufferings of Christ 
there, else we do nothing. 

IHrsi, This supposeth some acquaintance with Christ 
cracified ; for we cannot be said to remember that whick 
we never knew. — ^The ignorant, therefore, to whom the 
great thmgs of the gospel are as a strange thing, wit|i 
which they are not concerned to acquaint tlramselves, can- 
not answer the intention of this ordinance ; but they offer 
the blind in sacrifice, not discerning the Lord's body, and 
the breaking of it. It concerns us, therefore, to cry after 
this knowledge, and to labour after a clearer insight into 
the mystery of our redemption l^ the death of Christ ; for, 
if we be ignorant of this, and rest in false and coniused 
notions of it, we are unworthy to wear the Christian name, 
and to live in a Christian nation. 

Second, It implies a serious thought and contemplation 
qf the sufferings of Christ, such as is fed and supi^ied with 
matter to work upon, not from a strong fancy, but firom a 
strong faith. Natural passions may be raised oy the power 
of imagination, representing the story of Christ's suffering 
as very doleful and tragical ; but pious and devout affec- 
ticms are best kindled by the consideration of Christ's dying 
as a propitiation for our sins, and the Saviour of our souls; 
and this is the object of faith, not of fancy. We must 
here look unto Jesus as he is lifted up in the gospel, take 
him as the word makes him, and so behold him. 

Third, The contemplation of the sufferings of Christ 
must make such an impression upon the soul, as to work it 
into a fellowship with, and conformity to Christ in his suf- 
ferings. This was the knowledge and remembrance of 
Christ of which blessed Paul was ambitions to ** know 
Christ and the fellowship of his suffiurings," and we all, by 


our baptism, are in profession '* planted together in the 
likeness of his death." Then we do this in remembrance 
of Christ effectually, when we experience the death of 
Christ killing sin in us, mortifying the flesh, weaning us 
from this present life, weakening vicious habits and dispo- 
sitions in us, and the power of Christ's cross, both as a 
moral argument, and as the spring of special grace, " cruci- 
fying us to the world, aiid the world to us," when, in " touch- 
ing the hem of his garment," we find, like that good wo- 
man, virtue comes out of him to heal our souls, then rightly 
remember Christ crucified. 

II. It is a confessing ordinance. — If the heart believe 
unto righteousness, hereby confession is made unto salva- 
tion. The Lord's Supper is one of the peculiarities of our 
holy religion, by the observance of which, the professors 
df it are distinguished from all others. Circumcision^ 
which was the initiating ordinance among the Jews, by 
leaving its mark in the flesh, Was a lasting badge of distinc- 
tion ; baptism, which succeeds it, leaves no such indelible 
character on the body ; but the Lord's Supper is a solem- 
nity by which we constantly avow the Christian name, and 
declare ourselves not ashamed of the banner of the cross 
dnder which we were enlisted, but resolve to continue 
Christ's faithful servants and soldiers to the end of our lives, 
according to our baptismal vow. 

In the ordinance of the Lord's Supper we are said to 
show forth the Lord's death, that is, 

1 . We hereby profess our value and esteem for Christ 
crucified ; ye show it forth with commendation and praise : 
"SO the word sometimes signifies. The cross of Christ was 
to the Jews a stumbling-block, because they expected a 
Messiah in temporal pomp and power. It was to the Greeks, 
foolishness, because the doctrine of man's justification and 
salvation by it, was not agreeable to their philosophy. The 
wisdom of this world, and the princesof it, judged it absurd 
to expect salvation by one that died a captive, and honour 
by one that died in disgrace ; and turned it to the reproach 
of Christians, that they were the disciples and followers of 
one that was hanged on a tree at Jerusalem. They who 
put him to such an ignominious death, and loaded him with 
all the shame they could put upon him. hoped thereby to 



make every one shy of owning him, or expressing any 
respect for him ; hut the wisdom of God so ordered it, that 
the cross of Christ is that which above any thing else Chris- 
tiana have cause to glory in. Such are the fruits, the 
purchases, the victories, the triumphs of the cross, that we 
have reason to call it our crown of glory, and diadem of 
beauty. The politicians, thought it had been the interest 
of Christ's followers to have concealed their Lord's death, 
and that they should have endeavoured to bury it in forget- 
fiilness ; but instead of that, they are appointed to show 
forth the Lord's death, and to keep it in everlasting remem- 
brance before angels and men. 

This, then, we mean, when we receive the Lord's Sup* 
per ; we thereby solemnly declare that we do not reckon th0 
cross of Christ any reproach to Christianity ; and that we 
were so far from being ashamed of it, that, whatever con- 
structions an unthinking .unbelieving world may put upon 
it, to us it is the wisdom of God and the power of God ; 
it is all our salvation, and all our desire. We think never 
the worse of Christ's holy religion for the ignominious 
death of its great Author ; for we see God glorified in it, 
inan saved by it ; then is the reproach of it rolled away 
for ever. 

2. We hereby profess our dependance upon, and confi- 
dence in Christ crucified. As we are not ashamed to 
own him, lao we are not afraid to venture our souls, and 
their eternal salvation with him, believing him " able to save 
to the uttermost, all that come to God by him ;" and as wil- 
iing as he is able, and making confession of that faith. By 
this solemn rite we deliberately, and of choice put ourselves 
under the protection of his righteousness, the influence of 
bis grace, and the conduct and operation of his Holy 
Spirit. The concerns that lie between us and God, are of 
vast consequence, our eternal weal or wo depends upon 
the right management of them ; now we hereby solemnly 
declare, that having laid them near our own hearts in a 
serious care about them, we choose to lodge them in the 
Redeemer's hands by a judicious faith in him, for which 
we can give a good reason. God having declared himself 
'well pleased in him, we hereby declare ourselves well 
pleased in him too ; God having committed all judgment 


to the Son, we hereby commit all oor jndgmeiit 1o lutt 
likewise; as the aole Referee of the great eaase, and the 
sole Trustee of the great concern^ ** knowing .whom we 
have believed, even one who it able and feithftd to keep 
what we have committed to him against that day/' that great 
day when it will be called for. 

This then, we mean, when we receive the Lord's Sapper ; 
we confess tluBit Jesos Christ is Lord, and we own ouraeiVeB to 
be his sabjectSy and put ourselves under his government ; we 
confess that he is a skilful physician, and own oursdves te 
be his patients, resolving to observe his prescriptions ; we 
confess that he is a feithful advocate, and own ourselYeB to 
be his clients, resolving to be advised by him in every thing. 
In a word, in this <m]inance we profess that we are not 
ae^amed of the gospel of Christ, nor of the cross of ChnM, 
in which his gospel is all summed up, knowing it to he 
** the power of God unto salvation to all them that believe/* 
and havin|[ found it so to ourselves. 

III. It IS a communicating ordinance : here are not only 
gospel truths represented to us, and confessed by us; hot 
goi^l benefits offered to us^ and accepted by us ; for it 
is not only a feithful saying, but well worthy of all accept 
tation, that Christ Jesus died to save sinners. This is the 
explication which the apostle gives of this ordinance : " The 
<up of blessing which we bless," that is, which we pray to 
Gfod to bless, which we bless God with and^, and in 
which we hope and expect that God will bless us, if is thef 
communion," or the communication, ''of the blood of 
Christ ; the bread which we break, is the communion," or 
communication, ** of the body of Christ," which was net 
only broken for us upon the cross, when it was made an 
offering for sin, but is broken to us, as the children's bread 
is broken to the children in the everlasting Gospel, wherein 
it is made the food of souls. 

By the body and blood of Christ, of which this (Ordinance 
is the communion, we are to understand all those precioua 
benefits and privileges, which were purchased for us by the 
death of Christ, and are assured to us upon gospel terms, 
in the everlasting covenant. 

When the sun is said to be with us, and we say we have 
the ran, as in the day, or as in the summer, it is n<^ the 


body and bulk of the Bcm that we have, but hia raya and 
beama aie darted down upon us, and by them we receive 
the lighty warmth^ and influence of the san, and thus the 
aon ia communicated to us, according to the laws of crea- 
tioo : flo in this ordinance we are partakers of Christ, not of 
his real body and blood, (it is senseless and absurd, un- 
cfaristian and inhuman to imagine so,) but of his merits 
and righteousness for our justification, his Spirit and grace 
Cir our sanctification. We must not dream m ascending up 
into heaven, or of going down to the depth to fetch Christ 
into this ordinance, that we may partake of him ; no, the 
word is nigh thee, and Christ in the word. 

Unworthy receivers, that is, those who resolve to continue 
in sin, because grace hath abounded, partake of the guilt 
of Clurist's body and blood, and have communion with 
those that crucified him ; for, as much as in them lies, 
they crucify him afresh. What they do speaks such ill 
thoughts of Christ, that we may conclude, if they had been 
at Jerusalem when he was put to death, they would have 
joined with those that cried, ^* Crucify him, crucify him." 

But humble and penitent believers partake of the blessed 
firuits of Christ's death ; ** his body and blood" are their 
fiiod, their medicine, their cordial, their life, their all. All 
the riches of the gospel are virtually in them. 

1. Christ and dl his benefits are here communicated to 
OS ; here is not only Inread and wine set before us, to be 
looked at, but given to us to be eaten and drank ; not only 
Christ made known to us, that we may contemplate the 
mysteries of redemption, but Chrift made over to us, that 
we may participate of the benefits of redemption. God^ in 
this ordinance, not only assures us of the truth of the 
promise, but, according to our present case and capacity, 
conveys to us, by his Spirit, the good things promised ; 
receive Christ Jesus the Lord, Christ and pardon, Christ 
and peace, Christ and grace, Christ and heaven ; it is all 
your own, if you come up to the terms on which it is o^ 
fered in the gospel. 

Fountains of life are here broken up, wells of salvation 
are here opened,the stone rolled away firom the well's mouth, 
end you are called upon to come and draw water with joy. 
The well is deep, but this ordinance ia a bucket by which 


it is easy to draw : let us not forsake these living streams 
for stagnant water. These are wisdom's gates, where we 
are appointed to wait for wisdom's gifts ; and we shall not 
wait in vain. 

2. Christ and all his benefits are here to be received by 
us. If we do indeed answer the intention of the ordinance, 
in receiving the bread and wine, we accept the offer that is 
made us : "Lord, I take thee at thy word; be it unto thy 
servant according to it." We hereby interest ourselves in 
Christ's mediation between God and man, and take the 
benefit of it according to the tenor of the everlasting gospel. 
Christ,in this ordinance,is graciously condescending to show 
us the print of the nails, and the mark of the spear, to show 
us his pierced hands,his pierced side,those tokens of his love 
and power as a Redeemer ; we, by partaking of it, comply 
with his intentions, we consent to him, and close with him, 
saying, as Thomas did, "My Lord, and my God T* None 
but Christ, none but Christ. 

We do' here likewise set ourselves to participate of that 
spiritual strength and comfort, which, through grace, flowa 
into the hearts of believers, from their interest in Christ 
crucified. The gospel of Christ here solemnly exhibited, 
is meat and drink to our souls : it is bread that strengthens 
man's heart, and is the staff of life ; it is wine that makeft 
glad the heart, and revives the spirits. Our spiritual life is 
supported and maintained, and the new man enabled for 
its work and conflicts, by the spiritual benefits of which we 
here communicate ; as the natural life, and the natural body^ 
are by our necessary Tood. From the fulness that is in 
Christ crucified, we here derive grace for grace, grace for 
gracious exercises, as the branches derive sap firom the root^ 
and as the lamps derive oil from the olive trees ; and so, 
like healthful grown children, are nourished " up in the 
words of faith and of good doctrine," till we all come to the 
perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of 
Christ. Thus it is our communion with, and communica* 
ting of, Christ's body and blood. 

IV. It is a covenanting ordinance. — This cup, our Sav- 
iour tells us, (that is, this ordinance,) is the New Testament ; 
not only pertaining to the New Testament, but containitig 
it I it hath the whole New Testament in iX^ and has the sum 


and substance of it. It is, in general, an instnimeat by 
which a right passeth, and is conveyed ; and a title to some 
good thing given. The gospel revelation of God's grace 
and will, is both a testament and a covenant, and the Lord's 
Supper hath a referenqe to it as both. 

1. It is the New Testaments — The everlasting gospel is 
Christ's last will, by which hehath given and bequeathed a 
great estate to his family on earth, with certain precepts 
and in}Bnctionsy and. under certain provisions and limita- 
tions. This will is become of force, by the death of the 
Testator, and is now unalterable ; it is proved in the court 
of heaven, and administration given to the blessed Spirit, 
w)io is as the executor of the will ; for of him the Testator 
said, '* He shall receive of mine, and show it unto you." 
Christ having purchased a great estate by the merit of his 
death, by his testament he left it to all his poor relations, 
that had need enough of it, and for whom he bought it ; 
so that all those who can prove themselves akin to Christ, 
by their being born from above, their partaking of a divine 
nature, and their doing the will of God, may claim the 
estate by virtue of the will, and shall be sure of a present 
maintenance, and a future inheritance out of it. 
- The Lord's Supper is the New Testament ; it is not only 
a memorial of the Testator's death, but it is the seal of the 
Testament. A true copy of it attested by this seal and 
pleadable, is hereby given into the hands of every believer, 
that he may have strong consolation. The general record 
of the New Testament, which is common to all, is hereby 
made particular. 

The charge given , by the will is hereby applied and 
enforced to us. The Testator hath charged us to remem- 
ber him, hath charged us to follow him whithersoever he 
goes ; he hath charged us to love one another, and the 
estate he hath left us is so devised, as not to give any 
occasion to quarrel, but rather to be a bond of union. He 
hath charged us to espouse his cause, serve his interest, and 
concern ourselves in his concerns in the world, to seek the 
welfare of the great body, and all the members of it. He 
hath likewise charged us to expect and prepare for his 
second coming ; his word of command is, '' Watch." Now,, 
in the Lord's Supper^ we are reminded of this charge, antl 


bound ftiretih faithfally to observe whatsoever Christ hath 
commanded^ as the Rechabites kept the command of thm 

The legacies left by the will, are hereby particularly c<»- 
signed to us ; paid in part, and the rest secured to be paid 
when we come to age, even at the time appointed by the 
Testator. What is left for us is not only sufficient to an- 
swer the ftili intention of the will, enough for all, enough 
for each ; but is left in good hands, in the hands of the 
Spirit of truth, who will not deal unfkithfully with us ; for, 
as Christ tells us, " we know him.'' Nay, Christ himself 
is risen from the dead, to be the overseer of his own will| 
and to see it duly executed : so that we are in no danger 
of losing our legacies, unless by our own &ult These 
are good securities, and upon which we may with abimdaiil 
aatisfoction rely ; and yet our Lord Jesus " more abondanth 
to show the heirs of promise, the immutability of his ooaniH, 
hath confirmed it by an oath, (by a sacrament, which iahii 
oath to us, as well as ours to him,) that by all those immu- 
table things, in which it is impossiUe for God to lie, wv 
might have strong consdatioa," th^t have ventured our aU 
in the New Testament. 

2. It is the new covenant. — ^Though Qod is our sove- 
reign Lord, and owner, and we are in his hands as the 
clay in the hand of the potter ; yet he condescends to 
deal with us about our reconciliation and happiness in the 
way of a covenant, that they which are saved may tie the 
more comforted, and they which perish may be rendisred 
the more inexcusable. The tenor of this covenant is, 
''Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shdt be 
saved." Salvation is the great promise of the covenant, 
believing in Christ the great condition of the covenant ; now, 
this cup is the covenant, that is, it is the seal of the cov^ 
nant. There seems to be an allusion to that solemnity, 
which we read of where Moses read the book of the cove> 
nant in the audience of the people, and the people declared 
their consent to it saying, '* AU that the Lord hath said we 
will do, and will be obedient And then Moses took the 
blood and sprinkled it upon the people, (part of it having 
before been sprinkled upon the altar,) and said. Behold 
the blood of the covenant which the Lord hath miade with 


you coucerning all these words.'* Thus^ the covenant 
being made by sacrifice, and the blood of the sacrifice 
being sprinkled both upon the altar of God and upon the 
representatives of the people, both parties did, as it were, 
interchangeably put their hands and seals to the articles 
of agreement So the blood of Christ having satisfied for 
the breach of the covenant of innocency, and purchased a 
new treaty, and being the sacrifice by which the covenant 
is made, is fitly called the blood of the coven^t. Having 
^HrinklcMl this blood upon the altar in his intercession, 
when l>y his own blood he entered in once into the holy 
I^ace, he doth in this sacrament sprinkle it upon the peo- 
ple ; as the apostle explains this'^mystery — ^A bargain is a 
bargain, though it be not sealed, but the sealing is the 
rat&»tion and perfection of it. The internal seal of the 
covenant, as administered to true believers, is the spirit of 
promise ** whereby we are sealed to the day of redemption." 
Bat the external seals of the covenant, as administered in 
the visible church, are the sacraments, particularly this of 
the Lord's Supper. Sealing ordinances are appointed to 
make our covenanting with God the more solemn, and con- 
sequently the more affecting, and the impressions of it the 
more abiding., The covenant of grace is a "covenant 
never to be forgotten.'' This ordinance, therefore, was 
instituted to assure us, that God will never forget it, and 
to assist us, that we never may forget it. It is the seal of 
the new covenant ; that is, 

1^, Crod doth in, and by this ordinance, seal to us, and 
be to us a God. This article of the covenant is inclusive 
of all the rest ; in giving himself to us to be ours, he gives 
us all things, for he is God all-sufiicient. This is the 
grant, the royal grant, which the eternal God here seals, 
and delivers to true believers as his act and deed. He 
gives himself to them, and empowers him to call him 
theirs. What God is in himself, he will be to them for 
their good. His wisdom theirs, to counsel and direct 
them ; his power theirs, to protect and support them ; his 
justice theirs, to justify them ; his holiness theirs, to sanc- 
tify them ; his goodness theirs, to love and supply them ; 
his truth is the inviolable security of the promise, and his 
eternity the perpetuity of their happiness. He will be to 


them a Father, and they shall be his sons and daughters, 
dignified by the privileges of adoption, and distinguished 
by the spirit of adoption. Their Maker is their husband, 
and he hath said, that '* he is married to them, and rejoic- 
eth in them as the bridegroom in his bride." The Lord is 
their shepherd, and the sheep of his pasture shall not want 
He is the portion of their inheritance in the other world, 
as well as of their cup inthis ; he hath prepared for them 
a'city, and thereby '^ is not ashamed to be called their God/' 
2d, We do in and by this ordinance, seal to him to be 
to him a people. We accept the relation by our voluntary 
choice and consent, and bind our souls with a bond, that 
we will approve ourselves to him in the relation. We 
hereby resign, surrender, and give up our whole selves, 
body, soul, and spirit, to God, the Father, Son, and Holy 
Ghost, covenanting and promising, that we will by hu 
strength, serve him faithfully, and walk closely with him 
in all manner of gospel-obedience all our days. Claiming 
the blessings of the covenant, we put ourselves under the 
bonds of the covenant. O Lord, truly I am thy servant, I 
am thy servant: wholly, and only, and for ever thiiie. 
And this is the meaning of this service. 




Plentiful and suitable provision is made in this ordi- 
nance out of the treasures of the Redeemer's grace ; and 
ministers, as servants, are sent to bid to the feast, to invite 
thoee that the master of the feast hath designed for his 
guests^ and to hasten those that are invited to this banquet 
of wine. Wisdom hath sent forth her maidens on this 
errand, and they have words put in their mouths — 
** Come, for all things are now residy." This is our mes- 

First. We are to tell you that all things are ready^ now 
Teady ; he that hath an ear let him ear this : All things 
are now ready in the gospel-feast, that are proper for, or 
will contribute to the Sill satisfaction of an immortal soul, 
that knows its own nature and interest, and desires to be 
truly and eternally happy in the love and favour of its 

'All things are ready; all things requisite to a noble 
feast. Let us a little improve the metaphor. 

1. There is a house ready for the entertainment of the 
guests, the gospel church, wisdom's house, which she hath 
built upon seven pillars. God hath set up his tabernacle 
among men, and the place of his tent is enlarged, and 
made capacious enough, so that though the table has been 
replenished with guests, yet still there is room. 

2. There is a table ready spread in thevword and ordi- 
nances, like the table in the temple on which the show- 
bread was placed, a loaf for every tribe. The Scripture is 
written, the canon of it completed, and in it a full declara- 
tion made of God's good will towards men. 

3. There is a laver ready for us to wash in. As at the 
marriage-feast at Cana, there were six water pots set for 
purification. Lest sense of pollutions contracted should 
deter us from the participation of these comforts, behold 
there is " a founti^n opened," come and wash in it, that 




being purged from an evil conscience by the blood of Jemis^ 
you may, with humble confidence, compass God's altar. 

4. There are servants ready to attend you, and those are 
the ministers, vt^hose work it is to direct you to the table, 
and, " to give everyone their portion of meat in due season, 
jrigMtly dividing the word of truth/' They are not masters 
of the feast, but only stewards, and '' your servants for 
Ciirist's sake." 

5. There is much company already come ; many have 
accepted the invitation, and have found a hearty welcome : 
why then should your place be empty 7 Let the communion 
of saints invite you into communion with Christ. 

6. A blessing is ready to be craved. He is ready to bless 
the sacrifice. The great High Priest of our profession, 
ever living to intercede for us, and attending continually to 
this very thing, is ready to command a blessing upon our 
spiritual food. ] 

7. The master of the feast is ready to bid you welcome ; 
as ready as the father of the prodigal was to receive his re- 
penting returning son, whom he saw, when *' he was yet a 
great way off" God's ear is open to hear, and his hand 
open to give. 

8. The provision is ready for your entertainment. 
First, All things are ready, 1. For our justification ; 

divine justice is satisfied, an everlasting righteousness i» 
brought in, an act of indemuity hath passed the royal assent, 
and a throne of crrace is erected, at which all that can 
make it appear that they are interested in the general act, 
may sue out thcnr particular charter of pardon. There is 
a plea ready, an advocate ready : " Behold, he is near that 
justifieth us." 2. For our sanctification ; there is a fulness 
of grace in Christ, from which we may all receive ; the 
word of grace is ready as the means, the Spirit of grace is 
ready as the author ; every thing ready for the mortification 
of sin, the confirming :Of faith, and our furtherance in holi- 
ness. 3. For our consolation ; a well of living water is 
ready, if we can but see it ; peace is lefi; us for a legacy, 
which we may claim if we will ; promises are given us for 
our support, of which, if we have not the benefit, it is our 
own fault. There is something in the new covenant, to 
obviate every grief, every challenge, every fear, if we will 


use it. 4. For our salvation ready to be revealed ; angels 
upon the wing, are ready to convey us ; Jesus, standing at 
the Father's right hand, is ready to receive us ; the many 
mansions are ready prepared for us : "All things are ready." 
Second^ All things are now ready, just now, for " Behold 
now is the accepted time." 

1. All things are now readier than they were under the 
law. Grace then lay more hid than it doth now, when^life 
and immortality are brought te so clear a light by the gos* 
pel. Christ in a sacrament is much readier than Christ in 
a sacrifice. 

2. All things are now readier than they will be shortly, 
if we trifle away the present season. Now the door of 
mercy stands open, and we are invited to come and enter ; 
but it will shortly be shut. Now the golden sceptre is held 
out, and we are called to come and touch the top of it ; but 
it will be otherwise, when the days of our probation are 
numbered and finished, and he that now saith, " Come for 
a blessing," will say, " Depart with a curse." 

Second. We must call you to come : this is now the 
call. Come, come ; " the Spirit saith, Come, and the bride 
saith, Come." Come to Christ in the first place, and then 
come to this ordinance. All things are ready, be not you 

This exhortation must be directed to three sorts of per- 
sons : Firsts Those who are utterly unmeet for this ordi- 
nance, must be exhorted to qualify themselves, and then 
com^. Second, Those who, through grace, are in some 
measure meet for this ordinance, must be exhorted speedily 
to enter themselves. Third, Those who have entered 
themselves, must be exhorted to be constant in their attend- 
ance" upon it. 

First, I must apply myself to those that by their ignor- 
ance, profaneness, irreligion, or reigning worldliness, put 
a bar in their own way, and may not be admitted to this 
ordinance. If these lines should fall under the eye of any 
such, let them know I have a message to them fi'om God, 
and I must deliver it, whether they will hear, or whether 
they will forbear. 

Dost thou live a carnal wicked life, in the service of sin 
and Satan, without fear, and without God in, the world ? 


Light is come into the world, and dost thou love darkness 
rather, not knowing nor desiring to know, the way of the 
Lord, and the judgment of thy God ? Art thou a drunkard, 
a swearer, a sabbath-breaker? Art thou an adulterer, for- 
nicator, or unclean person ? Art thou a liar, a 'deceiver, a 
railer, or a contentious person ? Art thou a mere drudge to 
the world, or a slave to any base lust 7 Doth thy own con- 
science tell thee thou art the man, or would it not tell thee 
80, if thou wouldst suffer it to deal faithfully with thee ? 

L Know then, that thou hast no part nor lot in this mat- 
ter ; whilst thou continuest thus, thou art not an invited 
guest to this feast ; the servants dare not bid thee welcome, 
KMT they know the master will not, but will ask thee, *' Friend, 
how camest thou in thither ? What hast thou to do to take 
God's covenant and the seal of it into thy mouth, seeing 
thou hatest instruction?'' Read that scripture, and hear 
God speaking to thee in it :" It is not meet to take the 
ohildren's bread, and cast it to dogs." Thou art forbidden 
to touch these sacred things with thine unhallowed hands; 
for '' what communion hath Christ with Belial ?" If thou 
thrust thyself upon this ordinance, whilst thou continuest 
under such a character, instead of doing honour to the 
Lord Jesus, thou puttest a daring affront upon him, as if he 
were altogether such a one as thyself; instead of deriving 
any true comfort to thy own soul, thou dost but aggravate 
thy guilt and condemnation ; thy heart will be more hard- 
ened, thy conscience more seared, Satan's strong holds 
more fortified, and thou eatest and drinkest judgment to 
thyself, not discerning the Lord's body; nor puttest a 
difference between this bread and other bread ; but tram* 
pling under foot the blood of the covenant, as a profane 
and common thing. 

2. Know also that thy condition is very miserable whilst 
thou debarrest thyself from this ordinance, and art, as pol- 
luted, put from this priesthood. How light soever tiiou 
mayest make of it, this is not a small portion oi thy miseries, 
that thou shuttest thyself out of covenant and communion 
with the God that made thee ; and, in effec^, disclaimest 
any interest in the Christ that uought thee, as if thou hadst 
taken the devils' words out of their mouths, " What have 
we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God ?" And, if 


thou persist in it, so shall thy doom be; thou thyself h^^t 
decided it. If now it be as nothing to thee, to be separate^ 
firom the sheep of Christ, and excluded from their green 
pastures, yet it will be something shortly, when thou shalt 
accordingly have thy place among the goats, and thy lot 
with them for ever. Thou thinkest it no los9 now, to 
want the cup of blessing, because thou preferrest the cup 
of drunkenness before it ; but what dost thou think of th^ 
cup of trembling, that will ere long be put into thy hand, 
if thou repent not ? Thou hast no desire to the wine o( 
the love of God, but rather choosest the puddle water of 
sensual pleasures ; but canst thou '^ drink of the wine of 
the wraUi of God," which shall be poured out without 
mixture in the presence of the Lamb? Thou thinkest 
thyself easy and happy, that thou art not under the bonds 
and checks of this ordinance ; but dost thou not see thy* 
self extremely miserable, whilst thou hast no right to the 
blessings and comforts of this ordinance ? If there were 
not another life after this, thou mightest have some colour 
ibr blessing thyself thus in thine own wicked way ; (and 
yet, if so, I should see no cause to envy thee ;) but, wretch* 
ed soul, " what wilt thou do in the day of visitation ?" 
Thou that joinest thyself with the sinners in Zion, and 
choosest them for thy people, ''Canst thou dwell with 
devouring fire? Canst thou inhabit everlasting burnings?" 
May God by his grace open thine eyes, and give thee to 
see thy misery and danger before it be too late ! 

3. Yet know, that though thy condition is very sad, i^ 
is not desperate. Thou hast space yet given thee to repent, 
and grace o&red thee. O refuse not that grace, slip not 
that opportunity ! Leave thy sins, and turn unto God in 
Christ ; cast away from thee all thy transgressions, make 
thee a new heart, begin a new life, forsake the foolish, and 
live to scMne purpose, and go in the way of understanding ; 
and then in wisdom's name, I am to tell thee, that notwith^ 
standing all thy former follies, thou art welcome to her 
house, welcome to her table, freely welcome to " eat of her 
bread, and to drink of the wine which she hath mingled." 
''Now at least, now at last, in this thy day, know the 
things that belong to thy peace;" be wise for thyself, be 


wise for thine own soul, and cheat not thyself into thine 
own ruin. 

Poor sinner! I pity thee, I would gladly help thee; 
the Lord pity thee and help thee ! He will, if thou wilt 
pity thyself, and help thyself. Wilt thou be persuaded by 
one tjiat wishes thee well, to exchange the service of sin, 
which is perfect slavery, for the service of God, which is 
perfect liberty ? to exchange the base and sordid pleasures 
of a sensual life which level thee with the beasts, for the 
pure and refined pleasures of a spiritual and divine life, 
which will raise thee to a communion with the holy angels t 
I am confident thou wilt quickly find it a blessed change> 
" Awake, shake thyself from the dust, loose thyself from 
the bands of thy neck.'' Give up thyself in sincerity to 
Jesus Christ, and then come and feast with him; thoa 
shalt then have in this ordinance the pledges of his &vour, 
assurances of thy reconciliation to him, and acceptance 
with him, and all shall be well, for it shall eqd everlast- 
ingly well. 

Second, I must next apply myself to those, who, having 
a competent knowledge in the things of God, and making 
a justifiable profession of Christ's holy religion, cannot be 
denied admission to this ordinance, and yet deny them- 
selves the benefit and comfort of it. Such are hereby 
exhorted, without further delay, solemnly to give up their 
nam to the Lord Jesus, in and by this sacrament. Hear 
Hezekiah's summons' to the passover : " Yield yourselves 
unto the Lord, give the hand unto the Lord ;" so the He- 
brew phrase is : join yourselves to him in the bond of the 
covenant, and then exchange the ratifications, enter into 
the sanctuary. First give your own selves unto the Lord, 
and then confirm the surrender by the solemnity of this 

Let me direct this exhortation to young people that were 
in their infancy baptized into the Christian faith, and have 
beenfwell educated in the knowledge of Gdd, and of his holy, 
ways, and are now grown up to years of discretion, are 
eapable of understanding what they do, of discerning be- 
tween their right hand and their left in spiritual things, and 
of choosing and refusing for themselves accordingly ; and 
that have had scmie good impressions made upon their 


souls by divine things, and some good inclinations towards 
God, and Christ, and heaven ; such are invited to the table 
of the Lord, and Called upon to come, for all things are 
now ready, and it is not good to delay. 

You that are young, will you now be prevailed with to 
be serious,, and resolved for God ? You now begin to act 
with reason, and to put away ' childish things ; you are 
come to be capable of considering, and you are thinking 
how you must live in this world ; O that I could prevan 
with you to think first how you may live for another world f 
I am not persuading you to come rashly and carelessly to 
the Lord's table, as when you were little children you went 
to church for fashion's sake, and because your parents 
took you with them ; but I am pursuading you now, in the 
days of your youth, from a deep conviction of your duty 
and interest, and a serious concern about your souls and 
eternhy, intelligently, deliberately, and with a fixed reso- 
lution, to join yourselves, unto the Lord in an everlasting 
covenant, and then to come and seal that covenant at his 
table. You are now come to the turning time of life, to 
those years when ordinary people fix for their whole lives ; 
I beg of you for Christ's sake, and for your own precious 
soul's sake, that now you will turn to God, and fix for him^ 
and set your faces heavenwards. 

Come, and let us reason together a little, and I beseech 
you to reason with yourselves. 

Ist, Are you not by baptism given up unto the Lord T 
Are not the vows of God already upon you ? Is not your 
baptism your honour ? Is it not your comfort ? It is so ; 
but you are unworthy of that honour, unworthy of that 
comfort, if, when you arrive at a capacity for it, you de- 
cline doing that for yourselves, which was done for you 
when you were baptized. How can you expect that your 
parents' dedication of you to God then, should avail you 
any thing, if you do not now make it your own act and deed t 
Might not your backwardness to confirm the covenant, by 
this solemn taking of it upon yourselves, be construed as 
an implicit renunciation of it, and be adjudged a forfeiture 
of the benefit of it ? I believe you would not for a world 
disclaim your baptism, nor' disown the obligation of it ; you 
will noty I am confident you will* not throw off your Cluris- 


tianity, nor join with those that say, we have na part in 
David, or inheritance in the Son of David. Come then 
and ratify your baptism ; either let these articles be can- 
celled, or now, that you are of age, come and seal them 
yourselves ; either be Christians complete, Christians by 
your own consent, or not Christians at all. The matter is 
plain ; the bonds of both the sacraments are the same : yon 
are under the bonds of the one, which I know yoa dare 
not renounce ; therefore, come under the bonds of the 
other. Consider, take advice, and speak your minds. 

2d, How can you dispose of yourselves better now in 
Xhe days of your youth, than to give up yourselves to the 
Lord ? These are your choosing days ; you are now choo^- 
ing other settlements, in callings, relations, and places of 
abode ; why should you not now close this settlement in 
the service of God, which will make all your other settle- 
ments comfortable ? Choose you, therefore, this daji whom 
you will serve ; God, or the world, Christy or the flerii ; 
and be persuaded to bring the matter to a good issue ; de- 
termine the debate in that happy resolution to which the 
people of Israel came, when they said, '' Nay, but we will 
serve the Lord." Why should not he, who is the first and 
the best, have the first and best of your days ? Which I am 
sure you cannot bestow better, and which it is both youjr 
duty and interest to bestow thus. 

3d, What will you get by delaying it? You intend 
gometime or other solemnly to give up yourselves unto the 
Lord in this ordinance, and you hope then to receive the 
benefit and comfort of it ; but the tempter tells you, 'Tii 
all good in time, and you dismiss your convictions as Felix 
iljd Paul with a promise, that " at a more convenient ae^r 
Qon you will send for them." You are ready to say, as Uie 
people did, '' the time is not come, the time that the Lord'a 
house should be buik ;" you think you must build your 
own first ; and what comes of those delays ? Satan, ere 
you are aware, gets advantage by them, and cheats you of 
all your time, by cheating you of the present time ; your 
hearts are in danger of being hardened, the spirit of grace 
may hereby be provoked to withdraw, and strive no more; 
and what will become of you if death surprise you befiupe 
your great work be done % 


4th, What better provision can you make for a comfort- 
able life in this world, than by doing tliis great work be^ 
times ? You arc setting out in a world of temptations 
more than you think of ; and how can you better arm your- 
selves against them, than by coming up to that fixed reso- 
lution which will silence the tempter, ** Get thee behind 
me Satan V* When Noami saw that Ruth was " stead- 
fastly resolved, she left off speaking to her." The counsel 
of the ungodly will not be so apt to court you to the way 
of sinners, and the seat of the scornful, when you have avow- 
ed yourselves set out in the way of God, and seated already 
at the table of the Lord. Your are launching forth into a 
stormy sea, and this will furnish you with ballast ; your 
way lies through a vale of tears, and therefore you have 
need to be well stocked with comforts : and where can you 
stock yourselves better than in this ordinance, which seals 
all the promises of the new covenant, and conveys all the 
happiness included in them ? 

And now, shall I gain this point with young people t 
Will they be persuaded betimes to resolve for God and 
heaven? ** Remember thy Creator, remember thy Re- 
deemer in the days of thy youth ;" and then it is to be 
hoped thou wilt not forget them, nor will they forget thee 
when thou art old. 

Let me address this exhortation to those whose inclina^ 
tions are good, and their conversation blameless, but their 
desires are weak, and their affections cool and indifferent, 
and therefore they keep off from this ordinance. This i» 
the character of very many who are honest, but they want 
zeal and resolution enough to bring them under this en- 
gagement. They can give no tolerable reason why they 
do not come to the sacrament : it may be they have bought 
a piece of ground, or a yoke of oxen ; their hands are full 
of the world, and they are too busy, they are unsettled, or 
not settled to their minds, and this makes them uneasy, 
and they hope that therefore they may be excused ; but tho 
true reason is they are slothful and dilatory, and the things 
that remain are ready to die ; they cannot find in their 
hearts to take pains, the pains they know they must take 
in a work of this nature ; they are not willing to be bound 
to that strict carq and watchfolnesb to which this sacra- 

ment will oblige them : they will be as they are, and make 
no adTaiices : they " have hid their hand in their bosom, 
and it grieves them to bring it to their mouth again," that 
iSy they will not be at the pains to feed themselves. 

What sliall wc say to rouse these sluggards ? to persuade 
them to press forward in their prcfcssion, forgetting the 
things that are behind, and not resting in them ! Hear 
ye virgins, that slumber and sleep, and let your lamps lie 
by neglected, hear the cry, *' fiehold the bridegroom coro- 
eth ( Cometh in this ordinance to espouse you to himself; 
stir up yourselves, and) go ye forth to meet him." Hear 
ye servants, ye slothful servants, your Master's voice, ** How 
long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard?" Is it not high time to 
awake out of sleep, and apply thyself more closely and 
vigorously to the business of a Christian ? Is it not fiir 
in the day with thee, perhaps the sixth hour, or further on ) 
and yet hast thou no appetite to this spiritual feast to which 
thou art invited ? Thou hast lost a great deal of time al« 
ready^ should not thou now think of redeeming time for 
thy soul and eternity ? And how can that be better done, 
than by improving such advantageous opportunities as sa- 
craments are ? Hear that call to careless and trifling pro- 
fessors, as if thou thyself wert called by name in it: 
^ Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and | 
Christ shall give thee light." 

1st, Consider what an affront you put upon the Lord Je- 
sus, while you live in the neglect of this ordinance ; yoo 
contemn his authority, who hath given this command to 
all his disciples (and among them you reckon yourselves.) 
" Do this in remembrance of me." And is it nothing to 
live in the omission of a known duty, and in disobedience to 
an express precept ? Is the law of Christ nothing with 
you ? ]f you know to do goo<l, and do it not, is it not sin t 
Is not this as much an ordinance of Christ, as the word 
and prayer ? Y^ou would not live without them, nor would 
you be yourselves, or suffer your children to be without 
baptism ; why then is this neglected ? You arraign 
Christ's wisdom : he instituted this ordinance for your 
spiritual good, your strength, and nourishment ; and you 
think you need it not, you can do as wel> without it : this 
appointment, you think, might have been spared ; that is. 



you think yourselves wiser than Christ. You likewise 
hereby put a great slight upon the grace and love of Christ, 
which hath made such rich provision for you, and given 
yuu so kind an invitation to it. 

This is excellently well urged in the public form of invi- 
tation to the holy communion, which warns those that are 
scandalous to keep off in these words : " If any of you be 
a blasphemer of God, a hinderer or slanderer of his word, 
an adiiiterer, or be in malice or pnvy, or in any other griev- 
ous crime; repent you of your sins, or else come not to 
that holy table ; lest after the taking of that holy sacra- 
ment, the devil enter into you, as he entered into Judas, 
and fill you full of all iniquities, and bring you to destruc- 
tion of both body and soul.'' 

But the other exhortation stirs up those that are negli- 
gent, in these words : ^^ Ye know how grievous and unkind 
a thing it is, when a man hath prepared a rich feast, deck- 
ed his table with all kind of provision, so that there lack- 
eth nothing but the guests to sit down, and yet they who 
are called (without any cause,) most unthankfiilly refusie 
to come. Which of you in such a case would not be 
moved ? Who would not think it a great injury and wrong 
done unto him ? Wherefore, most dearly beloved in 
Christ, take ye good heed lest ye, withdrawing yourselves 
from this holy supper, provoke God's indignation against 
you. It is an easy matter for a man to say, I will not com- 
municate, because I am otherwise hindered with worldly 
business, but such excuses are not so easily accepted and 
allowed before God. If any man say, I am a grievous sin- 
ner, and therefore am afraid to come ; wherefore then do 
you not repent and amend ? When God calleth you, are 
ye not ashamed to say, Ye will not come ? When ye 
should return to God, will you excuse yourselves, and 
say, you are not ready ? Consider earnestly with your- 
selves, how little such feigned excuses will avail before 
God. They that refused the feast in the Gospel, because 
they had bought a farm, or would try their yokes of oxen, 
or because they were married, were not so excused, but 
counted unworthy of the heavenly feast. 

2d, Consider what an injury you hereby do to your own 
souls. You know not what you lose while you live in the 


neglect of this ordinance. If you be deprived of opportu- 
nities for it, that is an affliction, but not a sin ; and, in soch 
a case, while you lament the want of it, and keep up de- 
sires after it, and improve the other helps you have, yoa 
may expect that Gk)d will make up the want some other 
way ; though we are tied to ordinances, God is not ; but if 
you have opportunities for it, and yet neglect it, and when 
it is to be administered, turn your back upon it, you serve 
your souls as you would not serve your bodies ; for you 
deny them their necessary food, and the soul that is starved 
is as certainly murdered as the body that is stabbed, and his 
blood shall be required at thy hands. " No man ever yet 
hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it :" 
yet tliou deniest thine own soul that which would nourish 
and cherish it, and thereby showest how little thou lovest it. 
If thou didst duly attend on this ordinance, and in^prove it 
aright, thou wouldst find it of unspeakable use to thee for 
the strengthening of thy faith, the exciting of holy affections 
in thee, and thy furtherance in every good word and work. 
So that to thy neglect of it, thou hast reason to impute all 
thy weakness, and all the strength and prevalency of thy 
temptations ; all the unsteadiness of thy resolutions, and 
all the unevenness of thy conversation. How can we ex- 
pect the desired end, while we persist in the neglect of the 
appointed means ? 

Think not to say within yourselves, we are not clean, 
surely we arc not clean, therefore we come not to the feast. 
If you are not, why are you not? Is there not a fountain 
opened ? Have you not been many a time called to wash 
you, and make you clean ? You are not ready, and there- 
fore you excuse yourselves from coming : but, is not your 
unreadiness your sin, and will one sin justify you in ano- 
ther ? Can a man's offence be his defence ? You think you 
are not serious enough, nor devout enough, nor regular 
enough in your conversations to come to the sacrament ; 
and perhaps you are not : but why are you not ? What 
hinders you ? Is any more required to fit you for the sa- 
crament, than is necessary to fit you for heaven 1 And dare 
you live a day in that condition, in which, if you die, yoi| 
will he rejected and excluded as unmeet for heaven ? Be 
persuaded, therefore, to put on the wedding garment, and 


then come to the wedding feast. Instead of making your 
unreadiness an argument against coming to this ordinance, 
make the necessity of your coming to this ordinance an ar- 
gument against your unreadiness. Say not, I am too light, 
airy, too much addicted to sports and pleasures ; am linked 
too close in vain and carnal company, or plunged too deep 
in worldly care and business, and therefore, I must be ex- 
cused from attending this ordinance : for this is to make ill 
worse : but rather say, it is necessary I come to the Lord's 
Sapper, and come in a right manner ; my soul withers and 
languishes, dies and perishes if I do not ; and therefore I 
must break off this vain and sensual course of life which 
unfits me for, and indisposes me to that ordinance ; I must 
disentangle myself from that society, and disengage myself 
from that incumbrance, whatever it is which cools pious 
affections, and quenches the coal. Shake off that, what- 
ever it is, which comes between you and the comfort and 
benefit of this ordinance ; trifle no longer in a nlatter of 
such vast moment, but speedily come to that resolution : 
** Depart from me ye evil doers, and evil doings ; for I will 
keep the commandment of my God.'' 

Let me address this exhortation to those whose desires 
are strong towards the Lord, and towards the remembrance 
of his name in this ordinance ; but they are timorous, and 
are kept from it by prevailing fears. This is the case of 
many, who, we hope, " fear the Lord, and obey the voice 
of his servant, but they walk in darkness, and have no 
light ;" who follow Christ, but they follow him trembling. 
Ask them why they do not come to this sacrament, and 
they will tell you they dare not come, they are unworthy, 
they have no faith, no comfort in God, no hope of heaven ; 
and therefore, if they should come, they should ''eat and 
drink judgment to themselves." They find not in them- 
selves that fixedness of thought, the flame of pious and 
devout afiections which they think should be ; and, because 
they cannot come as they should, they think it better to 
stay away. What is said for the conviction and terror of 
hjrpocrites and presumptuous sinners, notwithstanding our 
care to distinguish between the precious and the vile, 
they misapply to themselves: and so the heart of the 
righteous is made sad, whcih should not be made sad. 


AV e are comiusuidixl to " strengthen the weak hands, and 
confirm the feeble knees ; to say to them that are of a 
Icarful heart. Be strong, fear not/*' But wiierewith shall 
we comfort such, whose souls many times refuse to he 
comforted 1 If we tell them of the infinite mercy and 
goodness of God, the merit and righteousness of Christ, the 
precious promises of the covenant, their jealous hearts 
reply, all this is nothing to them ; the Lord, they think, 
hath forgotten them, their God hath forsaken them, and 
utterly separated them from his people : ''as vinegar upon 
nitre, so is he that singeth songs to a heavy heart." 

But, O ye of little faith, who thus doubt, would you not 
be made whole ? Would you not be strengthened ? Is it 
not a desirable thing to attain to such a peace and serenity 
of mind, as that you may come with an humble holy bold- 
ness to this precious ordinance ? 

For your help then, take these two cautions. 

1st, Judge not amiss concerning yourselves. As it is a 
damning mistake, common among the children of men, to 
think their spiritual state and condition to be good, when 
it is very bad ; for, " there is that maketh himself rich, 
and yet hath nothing" — so, it is a disquieting mistake, 
common among the children of God, to think their spiritual 
i^tate and condition to be bad, when it is very good ; for, 
'' there is that maketh himself poor, and yet hath great 
riches." But it is a mistake, w^hich, I hope, by the grace 
of God may be rectified : and though a full assurance is 
rarely attained to, and we ought always to keep up a godly 
jealousy over ourselves, and a holy fear, lest we seem to 
come short ; yet such good hope through grace, as will 
enable us to rejoice in God, and go on cheerfully in our 
work and duty, is what we should aim at, and labour af- 
ter, and of which we ought not to deny ourselves the com- 
fort, when God by his grace hath given us cause for it : 
wherever there is such a serious concern about the soul 
and another world, as produces a holy fear, even that gives 
ground for a lively hope. 

You think you have no grace, because you are not yet 
j)erfect ; but why should you look for that on earth which 
is ' to be had in heaven only ? A child will at length be a 
man, though as yet he '' think as a chiid, and speak as a 


child." Biased Paul himself had not yet attained, noi 
was already perfect. Gold in the oar is truly valuable, 
though it be not yet refined from its dross. " Despise not 
the day of small things," for God doth not Deny not that 
power and grace, which hath brought you out of the land 
of E^ypt, though you be not yet <iome to Canaan. 

You think you have no grace, because you have not that 
sensible joy and comfort which you would have ; but those 
are spiritually enlightened who see their own deformity, as 
well as those that see Christ's beauty. " The child that 
cries is as sure alive as the child that laughs." Complaints 
of spiritual burdens are the language of the new nature, as 
well as praises for spiritual blessings. 

Drooping soul, thou art under grace, and not under the 
law ; and therefore judge of thyself by the measures of 
grace, and not by those of the law- . Thou hast to do with 
one that is willing to make the best of thee, and will ac- 
cept the willingness of the spirit, and pardon the weakness 
of our fleshy Take thy work before thee, therefore, and 
let not the penitent, hufnble sense of thy own follies and 
corruptions eclipse the evidence of God's graces in thee, 
nor let the diffidence of thyself shake thy confidence in 
Christ. Thank God for what he has done for thee : let 
him have the praise of it, and then thou shaH have the joy 
of it. And this is certain, either thou hast an interest in 
Christ or thou mayest have. If thoii doubt, therefore, 
whether Christ be thine, put the matter out of doubt by a 
present consent to him : I take Christ to be mine, wholly, 
only, and for ever mine : Christ upon his own terms, Christ 
npon any terms. 

2d, Judge not amiss concerning this ordinance. It was 
instituted for your comfort, let it not be a terror to you ; 
it was instituted for your satisfaction, let it not bo your 
amazement. Most of the messages from heaven which we 
meet with in Scripture, delivered by angels, began with, 
** Fear not ;" and particularly that to the women which at- 
tended Christ's sepulchre : ** Fear not ye ; for I know that 
ye seek Jesus ;" and do not you seek him ? Be not afraid 
then. Chide yourselves out of these disquieting fears 
which steel away your spear and your cruise of water, rob 
you both of your strength and of your comfort. 


Vou say you are unworthy to come ; so weie all that ever 
came, hot unworthy to be called children, nor to eat of 
the children's bread ; in yourselves there is no worthiness; 
but is there none in Christ ? Is not he worthy, and is not 
he yours ? Have you not chosen him ? Appear therefore 
before God in him- Let faith in his mediation silence aU 
your fears, and dismiss their clamours with that, '^ But thou 
dhalt answer. Lord, for me." 

You say you dare not come, lest you should eat and 
drink judgment to yourselves ; but ordinarily, those that 
most fear that, are least in danger of it. That dreadful 
word was not intended to drive men from the sacrament, 
but to drive them from their sins. Can you not say, through 
grace you hate sin, you strive against it, you earnestly 
desire to be delivered from it ? Then certainly your league 
with it is broken ; though the Canaanites be in the land, 
you do not make marriages with them. Come then and 
jieal the covenant-with God, and you shall be so &r from 
eating and drinking judgment to yourselves, that you shall 
eat and drink life and comfortgto yourselves. 

You dare not come to this sacrament, yet you dare pray, 
you (lare hear the word; I know you dare not neglect 
either the one or the other : and what is the sacrament but 
the doing the same thing by a visible sign, which is and 
ought to be done in effect by the word and prayer ? Nor 
ought we to put such an amazin? distance between this 
and other ordinances. If we pray m hypocrisy, our prayers 
are an abomination : if we hear the word and reject it, it 
is a savour of death unto death ; shall we therefore not pray, 
not hear ? God forbid. Commanded duty must be done ; 
appointed means must be used ; and that which unfits and 
hinders us must be removed, and we must in sincerity give 
up ourselves to serve God ; do as well as we can, and be 
sorry we can do no better ; and then having an High Priest, 
which is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, we may 
come boldly tothe throne of grace, and to this table of grace. 

You say, your faith is weak, pious affections are cool and 
low, your resolutions unsteady, and therefore you keep 
away from this ordinance. That is, as if a man should 
say, he is sick, and therefore he will take no physic ; he is 
empty, and therefore he will take no food ; he is faint, and 


therefore he will take no cordials. This ordinance was 
appointed chiefly for the relief of such as you are ; for the 
strengthening of faith, the inflaming of holy love, and the 
conflrming of good resolutions ; in Grod's^ name therefore 
use it for those purposes ; pine not away in thy weakness 
while God has ordained thee strength; perish not for 
hunger, while there is bread enough in thy father's house, 
and to spare ; die not for thirst, while there is a well of 
water by thee. 

Thirdly. — This chapter must conclude with an exhorta- 
tion to those who have given up their name to the Lord in 
this ordinance, and have sometimes sealed their covenant 
with God in it, but they come very seldom to it, and allow 
themselves in the neglect and omission of it. Frequent 
o{^rtunities they have for it, stated meals provided for 
them, the table spread and furnished. Others come, and 
they are invited ; but time after time they let it slip, and 
turn their backs upon it, framing to themselves some sorry 
excuse or other to shift it oft*. 

I desire such to consider seriously, 

1. How powerful the engagements are, which we lie 
under, to be frequent and constant in our attendance on 
the Lord in this ordinance! It is plainly intimated in the 
institution, that the s(^emnity is oft to be repeated ; for it 
is said, ^' Do this, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance 
of me." Baptism is to be administered but once, because 
it is the door of admission, and we are but once to enter in 
by that door ; but the Lord's Supper is the table in Christ's 
family, at which we are to eat bread continually. The 
law of Moses prescribed how oft the passover must be cel- 
ebrated under very severe penalties ; but the gospel being 
a dispensation of a greater love and liberty, only appoints 
us to observe its passover oft, and then leaves it to our own 
ingenuity and pious aflections to fix the time, and deter- 
mine how oft. If a deliverance out of Egypt merited an 
annual commemoration, surely our redemption by Christ 
merits a more frequent one, especially since we need not 
go up to Jerusalem to do it If this tree of life, which 
bears more than twelve manner of fruits, yieldeth her fruit 
to us every month, I know not why we should neglect it 
any month. Where there is the truth of grace, thu ordi- 


nance ought to be improved, which, by virtne of divine ap» 
pointment, has a moral influence upon our growth in grace. 
The great Master of the family would have none of his 
family missing at meal-time. 

While we are often sinning, we have need to be often 
receiving the seal of our pardon ; because, though the sa- 
crifice be perfect, and '' able to perfect for ever them which 
are sanctified," so that that needs never to be repeated ; 
yet the application of it being imperfect, has need to be 
often made afresh. The worshipper, though once purged, 
having still consciences of sins in this defective state, they 
must oft have recourse to the fountain opened for the por^ 
ing of their consciences, from the pollutions contracted 
daily by dead works, to serve the living God. Even he 
that is washed thus, needs to wash his feet, or he cannot 
be easy. 

While we are often in temptation, we have need to be 
often renewing our covenants with God, and fetching 
strength from heaven for our spiritual conflicts. Frequent 
fresh recruits and fresh supplies, are necessary for those 
that are so closely besieged, and are so vigorously attacked 
by a potent adversary. He improves all advantages against 
us, therefore it is our wisdom not to neglect any advantage 
iigainst him, and particularly this ordinance. 

While we are often labouring under great coldness and 
dcadness of affection towards divine things, we need oft 
to use those means which are proper to kindle that holy 
ftre, and keep it burning. Wc find, by sad experience, 
that our coal from the altar is soon quenched, our thoughts 
grow flat and low, and unconcerned about the other world^ 
by being so much conversant with this ; we have therefore 
need to be often celebrating the memorial of Christ's death 
and sufferings, than which nothing can be more affecting 
to a Christian^ nor more proper to raise and refine the 
thoughts ; it is a subject that more than once has made 
the disciples' " hearts to burn within them.'* 

Much of our communion with God is kept up by the re- 
newing of our covenant with him, and the frequent inter- 
changing of solemn assurances. It is not superfluous, but 
highly serviceable, both to our holiness and our comfort, 
t>ft to present ourselves to God as living sacrifices^ alive firom 

tlie dead. It is a token of Christ's favour to us, and must 
not be slighted, that he not only admits, but invites us oft 
to repeat thissc^emnity, and is ready again to seal to us, 
if we be but ready to seal to him. Jonathan, therefore, 
*^ caused David to sw^ar again, because he loved him." 
And an honest mind will not startle at assurances. 

.2. Considler how poor the excuses are, with which men 
commonly justify themselves in this neglect. They let 
slip many an opportunity of attending upon the Lord in this 
ordinance, and why do they ? 

Perhaps they are so full of worldly business, that they 
have neither time nor heart for that close application to the 
work of a sacrament which they know is requisite ; the 
shop must be attended, accounts must be kept, debts owing 
them must be got in, and debts they owe must be paid ; it 
may be, some affair of more than ordinary difficulty and 
importance is upon their hands, of which they are in care 
about the issue, and till that be over, they think it not amiss 
to withdraw from the Lord's Supper. And is this thy ex- 
cuse? Weigh it in the balances of the sanctuary then, and 
consider, is any business more necessary than the doing of 
thy duty to God, and the working out of thine own salva- 
tion ? Thou art careful and troubled about many things ; 
but is not this the one thing needful, to which every thing 
else should be obliged to give way ? Dost thou not think 
thy worldly business would prosper and succeed the better 
for thy care about the main matter ? If it were lefl whilst 
thou comest hither to worship, mightest thou not return to 
it with greater hope to speed in it ? And dost thou not spare 
time from thy business for things of much less moment 
than this ? Thou wilt find time, as busy as thou art, to eat 
and drink, and sleep, and converse with thy friends ; and 
is not the nourishment of thy soul, its repose in God, and 
communion with him, much more necessary? I dare say, 
thou wilt own it is. 

If indeed thou canst not allow so much time for solemn 
secret worship in preparation for this ordinance, and re- 
flection upon it, as others do, and as thou thyself sometime 
hast done, and wouldst do, yet let not that keep thee from 
the ordinance; thy heart may be in heaven, when thy 
hands are about the world ; and a serious Christian may, 


through GcmI's assistance, do a great deal of work in a little 
time. If the hours that should be thus employed, be trifled 
away in that which is idle and impertinent, it is our sin ; 
but if they be forced out of our hands by necessary and an* 
avoidable avocations, it is but our affliction, and ought not 
to hinder us from the ordinance The less time ure haTe 
for preparation, the more close and intent we should be in 
the ordinance itself, and so make up the loss. A welccHoe 
guest never comes unseasonably to one that always keeps a 
good house. 

But if, indeed, thy heart is so set upon the world, so filled 
with the cares of it, and so eager in the pursuits of it ; that 
thou hast no mind to the comforts of this ordinance ; no 
spirit nor life for the business of it, — surely thou hast left 
thy first love, and thou hast most need of all to come to thif 
ordinance for the recovery of the ground thou hast lost. 
Dost thou think that the inordinancy of thine affections to 
the world, will be a passable excuse for the coldness of Uune 
affections to the Lord Jesus ? Make haste, and get tbit 
matter mended, and conclude that thy worldly busineas 
then becomes a snare to thee, and thy concern about it is 
excessive and inordinate, and an ill symptom, when it pre- 
vails to keep thee back from this ordinance. 

Perhaps some unhappy quarrels, with some relaticms er 
with neighbours, some vexatious law-suit they are engaged 
in, or some hot words that have past, are pleaded as an ex- 
cuse for withdrawing from the communion. They are not 
in charity with others, or others are not in charity with 
them ; and they have been told, and it is undoubtedly trae, 
that it is better to stay away than come in malice ; but then 
the malice is so far from being an excuse for the staying 
away, that really the staying away is an aggravation of the 
malice. The law in this case is very express. If thy bro- 
ther has aught against thee, that is, if thy conscience tell 
thee that thou art the party offending, do not therefore 
leave the altar, but leave thy gift before the altar, as a pawn 
for thy return, and go first and be reconciled to thy brother, 
by confessing thy fault, begging his pardon, and making 
satisfaction for the wrong done, and then be sure to come 
and offer thy gifl. But, on the other hand, if ye have augbt 
against any, if thou be the party offended, then forgive* 


Lay aside all uncharitable thoughts, angry resentments, 
and desire of revenge, and be in readiness to confirm and 
evidence your love to those that have injured you ; and 
then, if they will not be reconciled to you, yet your being 
reconciled to them, is sufficient to remove that bar in your 
way to this ordinance. In short, strife and contention, as 
far as it is our fault, must be truly repented of, and the 
sincerity of our repentance evidenced by amendment o( 
life, and then it needs not hinder us ; as far as it is our 
cross, it must be patiently borne, and we must not be dis- 
torbed in our minds by it, and then it needs not hinder us. 
And that lawsuit which cannot be carried on without mal- 
ice and hatred of our brother, had better be let fall, what- 
ever we lose. Law is costly indeed, when it is followed at 
the expense of love and charity. 

3. If the true reason of your absenting- yourselves so 
often from the Lord's Supper be, that you are not wil- 
ling to take that pains with your own hearts, and to \ky 
that restraint upon yourselves both before and after, which 
yon know you must if you come ; if, indeed, you are not 
willing to have your thoughts so closely fixed, yotfr con* 
sciences so strictly examined, and your engagements against 
sin so strongly confirmed, as they will be by this ordinance ; 
if this be your case, you have reason to fear that " the 
things which remain are ready to die, and your works are 
not found filled up before God." It is a sad sign of spirit- 
ual decay, and it is time for thee to ** remember whence 
thou art fallen, and to repent, and do thy first works." 
Time was, when thou hadst a dear love to this ordinance, 
when thou longedst for the returns of it, and it was to thee 
'* more than thy necessary food : such was the kindness of 
thy youth, such the love of thine espousals ;" but it is oth- 
erwise now. Do you now sit loose to it t Are you indiffer- 
ent whether you enjoy the benefit of it or not ? Can you 
live contentedly without it ? You have reason to fear lest 
you are of those that are drawing back to perdition. Hav- 
ing " begun in the spirit, you now end in the flesh ? What 
iniquity have you found in this ordinance, that you have 
thus forsaken it ? Has it been '* as a barren wilderness to 
you, or as waters that fail ?" If ever it were so, was it not 
your own faylt ? Return therefore, ye backsliding children. 


be persuaded to return ; return to God, return to your duty, 
to this duty ; be close and constant to it as you were for- 
merly; for I dare say, *'.then it was better with you than 

Those that, by the grace of God, do still keep up a lore 
for this ordinance, should contrive their affairs* so, as if 
possible, not to miss any of their stated opportunities for it. 
Thomas, by being once absent from a meeting of the dis- 
ciples, lost that joyful sight of Christ which the rest^then 
had. It is good to have a nail in Crod's holy place. Bles- 
sed are they that dwell in his house ; not those that torn 
aside to tarry but for a night, but these that take it for their 
home, their rest for ever. 

Yet, if God prevent our enjoyment of an expected oppor- 
tunity of this kind ; though we must lament it as an afflic- 
tive disappointment, yet we may comfort ourselves with 
this, that though God has tied us to ordinances, he has not 
tied hin)self to them, but by his grace can make providen- 
ces work for the good of our souls. It is better to be, like 
David, under a forced absence from God's altar, and hare 
oar kearts there, than to be, like Doeg, present under a 
force, *' detained before the Lord," and the heart going 
after covetousness. It is better to be lamenting and Ibng^ 
ing in the want of ordinances, than loathing in the fulness 
of them. 





How earnest soever we are in pressing people to join 
tliemselves to the Lord in this ordinance, we would not 
have them to be *' rash with their mouth, nor hasty to utter 
any thing before God/' It must be done, but it must be 
done with great caution and consideration. Bounds must 
be set about the mount on which God will descend, and we 
most address ourselves to solemn services with a solemn 
pause. It is not enough that we seek God in a due ordi- 
nance, but we must '^ seek him in a due order," that is, 
we must " stir up ourselves to take hold on him." — " Pre- 
pare to meet thy God, O Israel." Those that labour under 
such an habitual indisposition to communion with God, and 
liable to many actual discomposures, as we are conscious 
of. to ourselves, have need to take pains with their heart, 
and should, with a very serious thought and steady resolu- 
tion, engage them to approach unto God. 

Now the duty most expressly required in our preparation 
for the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, is that of self-exam- 
ination. The apostle, when he would rectify the abuses 
which had sullied the beauty of this sacrament in the 
church of Corinth, prescribes this great duty as necessary 
to the due management of it, and a preservative against 
sharing in the guilt of such corruptions. '^ But let a man 
examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink 
of that cup." He that desires the Lord's Supper, desires 
a good work ; but let these also first be proved, let them 
prove their ownsclvcs, and so let them come ; upon that 
condition, and with that preparation, '^ I will wash my 
hands in innocency, so will I compass thine altar." In 
this method we must proceed. 

*' Let a man examine himself," — signifies either to prove, 
or to approve, and appoint such an approbation of ourselves, 
as it ie the result of a strict and close probation ; and such 


a probation of ourselves as issues in a comfortable approba- 
tion according to the tenor of the new covenant. It is so 
to prove ourselves, as to approve ourselves to God in our 
integrity. '' Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest 
that I love thee ;" so as to appeal to God's inquiry, '^ Ex- 
amine me, O Lord, and prove me." 

To examine ourselves is to discourse with our own 
hearts ; it is to converse with ourselves ; a very rational, 
needful, and improving piece of conversation. When we 
go about this work we must retire from the world, ** sit 
alone, and keep silence ;'* we must retire into our boooms, 
and consider ourselves, reflect upon ourselves, inquire con- 
cerning ourselves, enter into a solemn conference with our 
own souls, and be inquisitive concerning our state. Those 
who are ignorant and cannot do this, or careless and s^ 
cure, and will not do it, are unmeet for this ordinance. 

I shall illustrate this by some similitudes. 

L We must examine ourselves, as metal is examined by 
the touchstone whether it be right or counterfeit. We 
liave a show of religion ; but are we what we seem to be ? 
Are we current coin ? or only washed over, as " a potsherd 
covered with silver dross ? Hypocrites are reprobate silver. 
True Christians, when they are tried, come forth as gold. 
The word of God is the touchstone by which we must try 
ourselves. Can I through grace answer the characters 
which the Scriptures give of those whom Christ will own 
and save ? It is true the best coin has an alloy which will 
be allowed for, in this state of imperfection ; but the ques* 
tion is, is it sterling, is it standard ? Though I am conscious 
to myself, there are remainders of a baser metal ; yet is love 
to God the predominant principle ? Are the interests of 
Christ the prevailing interest in my soul above those of the 
world and the fi^sh ? I bear God's image and superscrip- 
tion ; is it of God's own stamping ? Is it upon an honest 
nnd good heart ? Is it a matter of great consequence, and 
in which it is very common but very dangerous to be im- 
posed upon, and therefore we have need to be jealous over 
ourselves ? When we are bid to try the spirits, it is suppo- 
sed we must begin with our own, and try them first. 

2. We must examine ourselves, '^ as a malefactor is ex- 
amined by the magistrate," that we may find out what we 


have done amiss. Wc are all criminals ; that is readily 
acknowledged by each of us, because it is owned to be the 
common character : '' All have sinned and come, short of 
the glory of God." We are all prisoners to the divine 
justice, from the arrests of which we cannot escape, and 
to the processes of which we lie obnoxious ; being thus in 
custody, that we may not be judged by the Lord, we are 
commanded to judge ourselves. We must inquire into 
the particular crimes we have been guilty of, and their 
circumstances, that we may discover more sins, and more 
of the evil of them, than at first we are aware of: dig into 
the wall as Ezekiel did, and see the secret abominations of 
your own hearts ; look further, as he did, and you will see 
more and greater. The heart is deceitful, and has many 
devices, many evasions to shifl convictions ; we have there- 
fore need to be very particular and strict in examining 
them, and to give them that charge which Joshua gave to 
Achan, when he had him under examination : ^' Give glory 
unto the God of Israel, and make a confession unto him ; 
tell me now what thou had^ done, hide it not from me." 

3. We must examine ourselves, as a copy is examined 
by the original to find out the errata, that they may be cor- 
rected. As Christians, we profess to '* be the epistles of 
Christ," to have his law and love transcribed into our hearts 
and lives ; but we are concerned to inquire, whether it be 
a true copy; by comparing ourselves with the gospel of 
Christ, whether our affections and conversations be con- 
formable to it, and such as becomes it. How far do I 
agree with it, and where are the disagreements ? What 
mistakes aref there ? What blots and what omissions? That 
what hath been amiss may be pardoned, and what is amiss 
may be rectified. In this examination faith must read the 
original, and then let conscience read the copy, and be sure 
that it read true, because there will shortly be a review. 

4. We must examine ourselves as a candidate is exam- 
ined that stands for preferment. Inquiry is made into his 
fitness for the preferment he stands for ; we are candidates 
for heaven, the highest jH^eferment to be to our God kings 
and priests. We stand for a place at the wedding feast ; 
have we on the wedding garment } Are we made meet 
foi" the inheritance t What knowledge have we ? What 



grace ? Are we skilled in the mystery we make profession 
of? What improvement have we made in the school ol 
Christ? What proficiency in divine learning? What 
testimonials have we to produce ? Can we show the seal 
of the Spirit of promise ? If not, we shall not be welcome* 

5. We most examine ourselves, as a wite is examined 
of her consent to the levying of a fine for the confirming 
of a covenant. It is a common usage of the law. A co- 
venant is to be ratified between God and our souls in the 
Lord's Supper: Do we fi-eely and cheerfully consent to 
that covenant, not merely through the constraint of natu- 
1 al conscience, but because it is a covenant highly reason- 
able in itself, and unspeakably advantageous to us ? Am I 
willing to make this surrender of myself unto the Lord ? 
Am I freely willing, not because I cannot help it, but be- 
cause I cannot better dispose of myself? We must ex- 
amine ourselves as Joshua examined the people, whether 
they could choose to serve the Lord or not ; and the pro- 
duct of the inquiry must be a fixed resolution, like theirs, 
*' Nay, but we will serve the Lord." 

6. We must examine ourselves, as a way -faring man is 
examined concerning his business. Our trifling hearts 
have need to be examined as vagrants, whence they come, 
whither they go, and what they would have ; we are com- 
ing to a great ordinance, and are concerned to inquire 
what is our end in cotning ? What brings us thither ? Is 
it only custom or company that draws us to this duty ? or is it 
a spiritual appetite to the dainties of heaven ? Our hearts 
must be catechised, as Elijah was, '^ What dost thou here.. 
Elijah ?" That we may give a good account to God of the 
sincerity of our intentions in our approaches to him, we 
ought, before we come, to call ourselves to an account con- 
cerning them. 

More particularly to examine ourselves, is to put serious 
questions to ourselves, and to our own hearts ; and to pros- 
ecute them till a fiill and true answer be given to them. 
These six questions (among others,) are good for each of 
us to put to ourselves in our preparation to the Lord's 
Supper, both at our admission, and in our after approach- 
es to it: ''What am I ? What have I done ? What am I 
doing? What ground do I get? What do I want? and 
what shall I resolve to do?" 


I. Inquire, What am I ? — It needs no inquiry, but it 
calls for serious consideration, that I am a reasonable crea- 
ture, lower than the angels, higher than the brutes, capa- 
ble of knowing, serving, and glorifying God in this world, 
and of seeing, and enjoying him in a better. I am made 
for my Creator, and am accountable to him. God grant I 
have not such a noble and excellent being in vain ! But 
here this question has another meaning ; all the children 
of men, by the fall of the first Adam, are become sinners ; 
some of the children of men, by the grace of the second 
Adam, are become saints : some remain in a state of na- 
ture, others are brought into a state of grace : some are 
sanctified, others unsanctified. This is a distinction which 
divides all mankind, and which will^ last when all other 
divisions and subdivisions shall be no more : for according 
to this will the everlasting state be determined. Nbw^ 
when I ask, what am I ? the meaning is, to which of these 
two do I belong ? Am I in the favour of God, or under his 
wrath and curse ? Am I a servant of God, or a slave to 
the world and the flesh 1 Look forward and ask, " Whith- 
er I am going?" To heaven or hell? If I should die this 
night (and I am not sure to live till to-morrow,) whither 
would death bring me ? Where would death lodge me ? In 
endless light, or in utter darkness ? Am I in the narrow 
way that leads to life, or in the broad way that leads to de- 
struction ? I am called a Christian, but am I a Christian 
indeed ? Have I a nature answerable to the name ? 

It highlyconcems us all to be strict and impartial in this 
inquiry. What will it avail us tp deceive .ourselves ? God 
cannot be imposed upon, though men may. It is undoubt- 
edly true, if we be not saints on earth, we shall never be 
saints in heaven. It is not a small thing about which I 
am now persuading thee to inquire ; no, it is thy life, thy 
precious life, the life of thy soul, thine eternal life, which 
depends upon it. Multitudes have been deceived in this 
matter, whose ways seemed right, but the end of it proved 
the ways of death ; and after they had long flattered them- 
selves in their own eyes, they perished at last, with a lie id 
their right hand. We also are in danger of being deceived, 
and therefore have need to be jealous over ourselves 
with a god]y jealousy ; and being told that many who eat 


and drink in Christ's presence, will be disowned and re» 
jected by him in the great day, we have each of Qs more 
reason to suspect ourselves than the disciples had, and to 
ask, "Lord, is it I r 

But it especially concerns us to insist upon this inquiry, 
when we draw near to God in the Lord's Sapper. It is 
children's bread that is there prepared ; am I child t If 
not, I have no part nor lot in the matter. I am there to 
seal a covenant with God ; but, if I never made the covei- 
nant, never in sincerity consented to it, I shall put the seal 
to a blank, nay, to a curse. 

Therefore, that I may consider, in some measure^ what 
xny spiritual state is, let me seriously inquire. 

L What choice have I made? — Have I chosen God'n 
fkvour for my felicity and satisfaction, or the pleasures of 
sense, and the wealth of this world T Since I came to be 
capable of acting for myself, and discerning between my 
right hand and my lefV, have I made religion my deliberate 
choice? H^ve I chosen God for my portion, Christ for my 
Master, the Scripture for my rule, holiness for my way, and 
heaven for my home and everlasting rest? If not, how can 
I expect to have what I never chose ? If my covenant with 
the world and the flesh (which certainly amounts to a 
covenant with death, and an agreement with hell,) be still 
in force, and never yet broken, never yet disannulled, 
what have I to do to take God's covenant, and the seal of 
it into my mouth ? But if I have reliised Satan's offers of 
the kingdom of this world, and the glory of them, and 
give the preference to the gospel offer of a kingdom in the 
other world, and the glory of that, I have reason to bless 
the Lord who gave me that counsel, and to hope that he, 
who hath directed me to choose the way of truth, will en- 
able mo to ** stick to his testimonies." 

2. What change have I experienced ? — ^When I ask, am I 
a child of wrath, or a child of love? I must remember that 
f was by nature a child of wrath. Now, can I witness to 
a change? Though I cannot exactly tell the time and 
manner, and the steps of that change, yet " one thing I 
know, that whereas I was blind, now I see." Though, in 
many respects, it is still bad with me, yet, thanks be to 
God, it is better with me than it has been. Time was 


I minded nothing but sport and pleasure, or nothing 
he business of this world, when I never seriously 
htof God and Christ, and my soul and another world ; 
jw it is otherwise ; now I see a reality in invisible 
I, I find an alteration in my care and concern ; and 
ask more solicitously, " What shall I do to be saved V* 
jver I asked, " What shall I eat, or what shall I drink, 
erewithal shall I be clothed V Time was, when this 
iod carnal heart of mine had no relish at all of holy 
inces, took no delight in them, called them a task 

weariness. But now it is otherwise ; I love to be 
with Grod, and though I bring little to pass, yet I love 
loing in his service. If I have, indeed, experienced 
I change as thjs — ^if this blessed turn be given to the 
>f my soul, grace, free grace, must have the glory of 
1 I may take the comfort of it. But if I have not 

any such work wrought in my heart, if I am still what 

by nature, vain, and carnal, and careless ; if Jordan 
(till in the old channel, and was never yet driven back 
J the ark of the covenant; I have reason to suspect 
orst by myself. If all go one way without struggle 
position, it is to be feared it is not the right way. 
What is the bent of my affections 1 — The affections 
e pulse of the soul. If we would know its state, we 
observe how that pulse beats. How do I stand af- 
. to sin ? Do I dread it as most dangerous, loathe it 
st odious, and complain of it as most grievous 1 Or 
nake a light matter of it, '^ as the madman that cast- 
-e-brands, arrows, and death, and saith, am not I iu 
f Which lies heavier, the burden of sin, or the bur- 
'affiiction, and of which am I most desirous to be eased ? 

think I of Christ ? How do I stand affected to him ? 
love him, and prize him as the fairest among tenthou- 

Or, hath he in mine eyes no form nor comeliness, and 
10 more than another beloved 1 How do I stand affected 

word and ordinances ? Are (rod's tabernacles amia* 
ith me, or are they despicable ? Am I in God's ser- 
118 in my element, as one that calls it a delight t Or, 
in it as under confinement, and as one that <;alls it a 
cry ? How do I stand affected to good people ? Do 

the image of Christy wherever I see it, though it be 


in rags, or though not in my own coloujr ? Do I honour 
them that fear the Lord, and choose his people fer my peo- 
ple, in all conditions ? Or do I prefer the gaieties of the 
world before the beauties of holiness ? How do I stand 
affected to thb world ? Is it under my feet, where it should 
be, or in my heart, where Christ should be ? Do I value 
it, and love it, and seek it with a prevailing concern t Or 
Ao I look upon it with a holy contempt and indifference? 
Which have the greater command over me, and which, in 
my account, have the most powerful and attractive charms; 
those riches, honours, and pleasures that are worldly, or 
those that are spiritual and divine ? How do I stand a^ 
fected to the other world ? Do I dread eternal misery in a 
world of spirits, more than the greatest temporal calamities 
here, in this world of sense 1 Do I deure eternal happir 
ness in a future state, more than the highest contentments 
and satisfactions to which this present state can pretend ? 
Or, are the things of the other world, though sure and 
near, looked upon as doubtful and distant, and conse- 
quently little ? By a close prosecution of such inquiries as 
these, with a charge to conscience, in God's name, to make 
a true answer to them, we may come to know our ownaelves. 
4. What is the course and tenor of our conversations? 
The tree is known by its fruits. Do I work the works of 
the flesh, or bring forth the fruits of the Spirit? The 
apostle gives us instances of both. Be not deceived your- 
selves, neither let any man deceive you : '' He that doth 
righteousness, is righteous." And the surest mark of up- 
rightness, is, '' keeping ourselves from our own iniquity." 
Do I allow myself in any known sin, under the cloaJiL of a 
visible profession ? Dare I, upon any provocation, swear 
or curse, or profane God's holy name, and therein a^nk 
the language of his enemies ? Dare I, upon any allure- 
ment to please my appetite, or please my company, drink 
to excess, and sacrifice my reason, honour, and conscience, 
that base and brutish lust ? Dare I defile a living temple of 
tlie Holy Ghost by adultery, fornication, uncleanness, or 
an act of lasciviousness ? Dare I tell a lie for my gain or 
reputation ? Dare I go beyond or defraud my brother in 
any matter, cheat those I deal with, or oppress those I h^ve 
advantage against? Dare I deny relief to t)iepj0^r.lhit 


really need it, when it is in the power of my hand to give 
it ? Dare I bear malice to any, and study revenge ? If so, 
i must know that these are not the spots of God's chil- 
dren. If this be the life I live^ I am certainly a stranger 
to the life of God. But if, oipon search, my own heart 
tells me that I keep myself pure from these pollutions, and 
** herein exercise myself, to have always a conscience void 
of offence, both towards God, and towards man ;'' if I have 
respect to all God's commandments, and make it my daily 
pare in every tiling to frame ray life according to them, and 
to keep in the fear of God every day, and all the day long, 
and wherein I find I am defective, and come short of my 
duty, I repent of it, and am more watchful and diligent ici 
the future ; I have reason to hope, that though I have not 
attained, neither am already perfect, yet there is a good 
work begun in me, which shall be performed unto the day 
of Christ. 

Thus we must examine our spiritual state ; and, that the 
trial may come to an issye, we must earnestly pray to God 
to discover us unto ourselves, and must be willincr to know 
the truth of our case ; and the result must be this : 

1. If we find cause to fear that our spiritual state is 
bad, and that we are yet unsanctified and unregenerate, we 
must give all diligence to get the matter mended. If our 
state be not good, yet, thanks be to God, it may be made 
good : *^ There is hope in Israel concerning this thing.'' 
Rest not, therefore, in thy former faint purposes and feeble 
efforts ; but consider more seriously than ever, the con- 
cerns of thy soul. Pray more seriously than ever, for the 
sanctifying grace of God ; put forth thyself more vigorously 
than ever, to improve that grace ; resolve more firmly than 
ever, to live a holy life, and depend more closely than ever, 
upon the merit and strength of Jesus Christ, and I hope 
thou wilt soon experience a blessed change. 

2. If we find cause to hope that our spiritual state is 
good, we must take the comfort of it, and give God tha 
praise, and not hearken to the tempter when he would dis- 
turb our peace, and hinder our progreflm, by calling it iu 
question. Though we must always abase ourselves, and 
De jealous over ourselves, yet we must not derogate from 
the honour of God's grace, nor deny its work in aSj God 

92 ' 

keeps us all, both from deceiving ourselves with groundless 
hopes, and from disquieting ourselves with groundless fears. 

II. Inquire, What have I done ? — We come to the or- 
dinance of the Lord's Supper, to receive the remission of 
our sins, according to the tenor of the new covenant. Now, 
one thing required of us, in order to peace and pardon, is, 
that we confess our sins. If we do that, " God is faithful 
and just to forgive them." But if we cover them, we can- 
not prosper. Not that we can, by our confession, inform 
God of any thing he did not know before, as earthly princes 
are informed by the confessions of criminals ; but this, we 
must give glory to God, and take shame to ourselvies, and 
strengthen our own guard against sin for the future. In 
the confession of sin, it is requisite that we be particular ; 
the high-priest, on the day of atonement, must confess over 
the scape-goat, " all the iniquities of the children of Israel, 
and all their transgressions in all their sins." It is not 
enough to say, as Saul, " I have sinned ;" but we must 
say, as David, '' I have sinned, and done this evil ;" as 
Achan, " I have sinned, and thus and thus have I done." 
A broken heart will thereby be more broken, and better 
prepared to be bound up; a burdened conscience will 
tfiereby be eased, as David's was when he said, ** I will 
confess." Comynonly, the more particular and free we are 
in confessing our sins to God, the more comfort we have 
in the sense of the pardon : deceit lies in generals. 

It is therefore necessary, in order to a particular con- 
fession of sin, that we " search and try our ways ;" that we 
examine our consciences, look over their records, examine 
the actions of our past life, and seriously call to mind 
wherein we have offended God in any thing. The putting 
of thi^ question is spoken of, as the first step towards repent- 
ance : ** No man repenteth him of his wickedness, saying, 
what have I done ?" For want of this inquiry duly made', 
when men are called to return, they baffle the call with that 
careless question, " Wherein shall we return V* Let us 
therefore set ourselves to look back, and remember our 
faults this day : it is better to be minded of them now, 
when the remembrance of them will open us a ddor of 
hope, thsm be minded of them in hell, where sin remem- 
bered will aggravate an endless despair. 


We ought to be often calling ourselves to an account; 
in the close of every day, of every week, the day's work, 
the week's work should be reviewed. It is one of the rich- 
est of Pythagorus' golden verses, wherein, though a hea- 
then, he adviseth his pupil, every night before he sleeps, 
to go over the actions of the day, and revolve them three 
times in his mind, asking himself seriously these questions : 
— " Wherein have I transgressed ? What have I done ? 
What duty hath been omitted ?" The oflener it is done, 
the easier it is done ; even reckonings make long friends. 
But it is especially necessary that it be done before a sacra- 
ment : foriper reflections made, ought then to be repeated, 
and with a particular exactness we must consider what our 
ways have been since we were last renewing our covenants 
with God at his table, that we may be humbled for the 
follies to which we have returned since God spoke peace 
to us, and may be more particular and steady in our reso- 
lutions for the future. 

To give some assistance in this inquiry, I shall instance 
some heads of it. Let the interrogatories be such as 
these ;— «- 

1. How have I employed my thoughts ? — Hath God been 
in all my thoughts? It is well if he has been in any. 
When I awake, am I still with him ? Or, am I not still with 
the world and the flesh ? When I should have been con- 
templating the glory of God, the love of Christ, and the 
great things of the other world, hath not my heart been 
with the fool's eyes in the ends of the earth, ** following 
after lying vanities, and forsaking mine own mercies ?" 
How seldom have I thought seriously, and with any fixed- 
ness, on spiritual and divine things ? I set myself some- 
times to meditate, but I soon break off abruptly, and this 
treacheious heart starts aside like a broken bow, and no- 
thing that is good is broujorht to any head ; but how have 
vain and vile thoughts lodged within me, gone out and 
come in with me, lain down and risen up with me, and 
crowded out good thoughts 1 Hath not the " imaginations 
of the thought of my heart" been evil, only evil, and that 
continually ? 

2. How have I governed my passions ? — Have they been 
kept undier the dominion of religion and right reason ? Or 


bave they not grown intemperate and heodstroltg, and tr^s- 
gressed due bounds ? Have not provocations been too 
much resented, and made too deep an impression ? Hath 
not my heart many times been hot within me, too hot, so 
that its heat hath consumed the peace of my own mind, and 
the love I owe my brother 1 Hath not anger rested in mj 
bosom ? Have not malice and uncharitableness, secreten- 
mitics and antipathies been harboured there, where love 
and peace should have reigned and given law ? 

3. How have I preserved my purity ? — Have I possessed 
my vessel in sanctification and honour, or am I not conscious 
to myself of indulging the lust of uncleanness ? If, by the 
grace of God, I have kept my body pure, yet hath not my 
spirit been defiled by impure thoughts and affections ? I 
have made a covenant with mine eye not to look and last, 
but have I made good that covenant ? Have I in no in- 
stance transgressed the laws of chastity in my heart, and 
modesty in my behaviour ? Let this inquiry be made with 
a strict guard upon the soul, lest that which should not be 
named among Christians, be thought of without that just 
abhorrence and detestation which becometh saints. 

4. How have I used my tongue ? — It was designed to be 
my glory, but has it not been my shame ? Hath not much 
corrupt communication proceeded out of my mouth, and 
little of tliat which is good, which might cither manifest 
grace, or minister grace ? Have not I sometimes spoken 
unadvisedly, and said that in haste which at leisure I could 
have wished unsaid ? Have not I said that, by which God's 
great name hath been dishonoured, or my brother's good 
name reproached, or my own exposed ? If, for every idle 
word that I speak, I must give account to God, I had best 
call myself to an account for them, and I shall find innu- 
merable evils compassing me about. 

5. How have I spent my time ? — So long as I have lived 
in the world, to what purpose have I lived ? What improve- 
ment have I made of my days for doing or getting good t 
It is certain I have lost time ; have I yet begun to redeem 
it, and to repair those losses ? How many hours have I 
spent that might have been spent much better ? There is 
a duty which every day requires, but how little of it has 
been done in its day ? 


6. How have I managed my worldly callmg ? — Have I 
therein abode with Grod, or have I not in many instances of 
it wandered from him ? Have I been just and fair in all my 
dealings, and spoken the truth from my heart ? Or havie 
I not sometimes dealt deceitfully in bargaining, and said 
that which bordered upon a lie ? Hath not fleshly wisdom 
governed me more than that simplicity and godly sincerity 
which becomes an Israelite indeed ? Have I no wealth 
got by vanity, no unjust gain, no blot of that kind cleaving 
to my hand ? 

7. How have I received my daily food ? — Have I nevet 
transgressed the law of temperance in meat and drink, 
and so made my table my snare ? Have not God's good 
gifls been abused to luxury and sensuality, and the body, 
which by the sober use of them, should have been fitted, 
by the excessive use of them, unfitted to serve the soul in 
the service of God ? Have I not eaten to myself, and 
drunk to myself, when I should have eaten and drunk to 
the glory of God ? 

8. How have I done the duty of my particular rela- 
tions ? — The word of God hath expressly taught me my 
dttty as a husband, a wife, a parent, a child, a master, a 
servant ; but have I not in many things failed of my duty ? 
Have not I carried myself disrespectfully to my superiors, 
disdainfully to my inferiors, and disingenuously to my 
equals ? Have I given to each that which is just and right, 
and rendered to all their dues ? Have I been a comfort to 
my relations, or have I not caused grief? 

9. How have I performed my secret worship ? Have I 
been constant to it, morning and evening, or have I not 
sometimes omitted it, and put it by with some frivolous exp- 
ense? Have I been conscientious in it, and done it with an 
eye to God ? Or have I not kept it up merely as a custom, 
and suiTered it to degenerate into a formality 1 Have I beeii 
lively and serious in secret prayei and reading, or have 1 
not rested in the outside of the performance, without any 
dose application and intention of mmd in it. 

10. How have I laid out what God has given me in the 
world ?— -I am but a steward ; have I been faithful? Hav6 
I honoured the Lord with my substance, and done good 
with it ; or have I wasted and misapplied my Lord's goods ^ 


Hath God had his dues, my family and the poor their dues 
out of my estate 1 What should have been consecrated to 
piety and chsp-ity, hath it not been either sinfully spared, 
or sinfully spent ? 

11. How hare I improved the Lord's day, and the other 
helps I have had for my soul ? — I enjoy great plenty of the 
means of grace ; have I grown in grace in the use of those 
means, or have 1 not received the grace of God therein in 
vain ? Have I '' called the Sabbath a delight, the holy of 
the Lord, and honourable ;" or have I not snuffed at it, and 
said, " when will the Sabbath be gone ?" How have I pro- 
fited by sermons and sacraments, and the other advantages 
of solemn assemblies ? Have I received and retained the 
good impressions of holy ordinances, or have I not lost 
them and let them slip ? 

12. How have I borne my afflictions ? — When providence 
had crossed me, and frowned upon me, what frame have I 
been in, repining or repenting? Have I submitted to the 
will of God in my afflictions, and patiently accepted the 
punishment of my iniquity ? Or, have 1 not striven with my 
3Iaker, and quarrelled with his disposals? When mine own 
foolishness hath perverted my way, hath not my heart fret- 
ted against the Lord ? What good have I gotten to my 
soul by my afflictions ? What inward gain by outward los- 
ses ? Hath my heart been more humbled and weaned from 
the world ? Or, have I not been hardened under the rod, 
and trespassed yet more against the Lord ? 

Many such queries might be instanced, but these may 
suffice for a specimen. Yet it will not suffice to put these 
questions to ourselves, but we must diligently observe what 
return conscience, upon an impartial search, makes to them. 
We must not do as Pilate did, when he asked our Saviour, 
What is truth ? but would not stay for an answer. No, we 
must take pains to find out what hath been amiss, and here- 
in must accomplish a diligent search. 

And, as far as we find ourselves not guilty, we must own 
our obligations to the grace of God, and return thanks §ot 
that grace, and let the testiiaony of conscience for us be 
our rejoicing. '^ If our hearts condemn us not, then we 
have confidence towards God." 


As far as we find ourselves guilty, we must be humbled 
before God for it, mourn and be in bitterness at the remem- 
brance of it, cry earnestly to God for pardon of it, and be 
particular in our resolutions, by God^s grace, to sin no 
more. Pray as Job is taught — ** That whiph I see not teach 
thou me," and promise follows there — " Wherein I have 
done iniquity, I will do so no more." 

III. Inquire, What am I doing ? — When we have con- 
sidered what our way hath been, it is time to consider what 
it is. " Ponder the path of thy feet." 

1 . What am I doing in the general course of my conver- 
sation ? Am I doing any thing for God, for my soul, for 
eternity, any thing for the service of my generation, or am 
I not standing all the day idle ? It is the law of God's house, 
as well as of ours, " he that will not labour let him not eat." 

If I find that, according as my capacity and opportunity 
is through the grace of Christ, I am going on in the way 
of God's commandments, this ordinance will be comforting 
and quickening to me ; but if I give way to spiritual sloth 
and slumber, and do not mind my business, let this shame 
me out of it, and humble me for it. How unworthy am I 
to eat my master's bread, while I take no care to do my 
master's work ! 

2. What am I doing in this approach to the ordinance 
of the Lord's Supper ? — I know what is to be done, but am 
I doing it ? Do I apply myself to it in sincerity, and with 
a single eye, in a right manner, and for right ends ? Am I 
by repentance undoing that which I have done amiss ? And 
am I, by renewing my covenant with God, doing that bet- 
ter, which I have formerly done well ? Am I joining my- 

\ self unto the Lord, with purpose of heart to cleave unto 
him to the end 1 It is the preparation of the passover ; am 
I doing the work of that day in its day ? Am I purging out 
the old leaven, buying such things as I have need of against 
the feast, without money and without price ? Am I engage- 
ing my heart to approach unto God, or am I thinking of 
something else ? Am I slothful in this business, or do I 
make a business of it 1 

Here it is good to examine, whether, beside the commoB 
and general intentions of this ordinance, there be not some^ 
thing particular^ which I should more especially have in my 


eye, in my preparation for it. Do I find my heart at this 
time more than usually broken for sin, and humbled at the 
remembrance of it ? Let me then set in vigorously with 
those impressions, and drive that nail. Or, is my heart in 
a special manner aflfected with the love of Christ, and en- 
larged in holy wonder, joy, and praise ? Let its outgoings 
that way be quickened, and those thoughts imprinted deep, 
and improved. 

IV. Inquire, What ground do I get ? — If, upon examin- 
ation, there appear some evidences of the truth of grace, I 
must then examine my growth in grace ; for grace, if it be 
true, will be growing : " That well of water will be spring* 
ing up, and he that hath clean hands will be stronger and 
stronger." There is a spiritual death, or at least some 
prevailing spiritual disease, where there is not some im- 
provement and progress towards perfection. 

By what measures, then, may I try my growth in grace t 

1. Do I find my practical judgment more settled and 
confirmed in its choice of holiness and heaven? If flo, it is 
a sign I am getting forward. We cannot judge of ourselves 
by the pangs of afiection ; those may be more sensible and 
vehement at first^; and their being less so afterwards, ought 
not to discourage us. The fire may not blaze so high as 
it did, and yet may burn better and stronger. But do I see 
more and more reason for my religion ? Am I more strong- 
ly convinced of its certainty and excellency, so as to be 
able better than at first, to '' give a reason of the hope that 
is in me ?" My first love was able to call religion a c<Hn- 
fortable service ; was my after light better able to call it a 
reasonable service? I was extremely surprised, when, at 
first, " I saw men as trees walking ;" but, am I now better 
satisfied, when I begin to see all things more clearly ? Am 
I, through God's grace, better rooted ? Or am I, through 
my own folly, still as " a reed shaken with the wind ?" 

2. Do I find my corrupt appetites and passions mcnre 
manageable ? Or, are they still as violent and headstrong 
as ever ? — ^Doth the house of Saul grow weaker and weak- 
er, and its struggles for the dominion less fi*equent, and 
more feeble ? If so, it is a good sign, the house of David 
grows stronger and stronger. Though these Canaanites 
<re in the land, yet do they not make head as they have 


done, but are under tribute ? Then the interests of Israel 
are getting ground. Do I find that my desires towards 
those things that are pleasing to sense are not so eager as 
they have been, but the body is kept more under, and 
brought into subjection to grace and wisdom, and it is not 
80 hard a thing to me, as it had been sometimes to deny 
myself? Do 1 find that my resentment of those things which 
are displeasing to the fiesh, are not so deep and keen as 
they have been ? Can I bear afflictions from a righteous 
God, and .provocations from unrighteous men, with more 
patience, and better composure and command of myself, 
than I could have done ? Am I not so peevish and fi'etful, 
and unable to bear an affront or disappointment, as some- 
times I have been ? If so, surely He that hath '' begun the 
good work, is carrying it on." But, if nothing be done to- 
wards the suppressing of these rebels, towards the weeding 
out of these *' roots of bitterness which spring up and trou- 
ble us," though we lament them, yet we do not prevail 
against them ; it is to be feared we stand as a stay, or go 

3. Do I find the duties of religion more easy and plea- 
sant to me ? Or, am I still as unskilful and unready in 
them as ever ? Do I go dexterously about a duty, as one 
that understands it, and is used to it, and as a man that is 
master of his trade goes on with the business of it? Or^ 
do I go awkwardly about it, as one not versed in it ? When 
God calls, Seek ye my face ; do I, like the child Samuel, 
run to Eli, and terminate my regards in the outside of the 
service ? Or, do I, like the man David, cheerfully answer, 
" thy face. Lord, will I seek ;" and so enter into that with- 
in the vail ? Though, on the one hand, there is not a 
greater support to hypocrisy, than a formal customary road 
of external performances ; yet, on the other hand, there is 
not a surer evidence of sincerity and growth, than an even, 
constant, steady course of lively devotion, which^ by daily 
use, becomes familiar and easy, and, by the new nature, 
natural to us. A growing Christian takes this word before 
him, and sings at it. 

4. Do I find my heart more weaned firom this present 
life, and more willing to exchange it for a better ? Or, am 
I still loath to leave it ? Are thoughts of death more plea- 



King to me than they have been, or are they still as terrible 
as ever ? If, through grace, we are got above the fear of 
death, by reason of which many weak and trembling Chris- 
tians are all their life time subject to bondage, and can 
truly say, " we desire to depart and to be with Christ, 
which is far better," it is certain we are getting ground, 
though we have not yet attained it. 

5. If upon search, we find that we make no progress in 
^ace and holiness, let the ordinance of the Lord's Supper 
be improved for the furtherance of our growth, and the re- 
moval of that, whatever it is, which hinders it ; if we find 
we thrive, though but slowly, and though it is not so well 
with us as it should be, yet, through grace, it is better with 
us than it hath been, and that we are not always babes, let 
us be encouraged to abound so much the more. " Go and 
prosper, the Ix>rd is with thee, whilst thou art with him." 

V. Inquire, what do I want ? — A true sense of our spi- 
ritual necessities is required to qualify us for spiritual sup- 
plies. The hungry only are filled with good things. It 
concerns us, therefore, when we come to an ordinance, 
which is as a spiritual market, to consider what we have oc- 
casion for, that we may know what to lay hold on, and 
may have an answer ready to that question which will be 
put to us at that banquet of wine, — " What is thy petition, 
and what is thy request 1" Or that which Christ put to 
the blind man — " What will ye that I shall do unto you?" 

" Grace and peace from God the Father, and from pur 
Ijord Jesus Christ," are inclusive of all the blessings we 
can desire, and have in them enough to supply all our needs. 
Since, therefore, we must act and receive, that our joy may 
be full, it concerns us to inquire what particular grace and 
comfort we need, that we may, by faith and desire, reach 
forth towards that in a special manner. 

1. What grace do I most want? — Wherein do I find 
myself most defective, weakest, and most exposed ? What 
corruption do I find working most in me ? The grace that 
is opposite to that, I must need. Am I apt to be proud or 
passionate ? Humility and meekness then are the graces 
I most want. Am I apt to be timorous and distrustful ? 
Faith and hope then are the graces I most want. With 
^ what temptations am I most frequently assaulted 1 Which 


waj doth Satan get most advantage against me, by my con- 
stitution, calling, or company ? There I must want help 
from heaven, and strength to double my guard. Am I in 
danger of being drawn by my outward circumstances to 
intemperance or deceit, or oppression or dissimulation ? 
Then sobriety, justice, and sincerity are the graces I most 
want. What is the nature of the duties I am mostly call- 
ed out to, and employed in ? Are they such as oblige 
me to stoop to that which is mean ? Then self-denial is 
the grace I most want. Are they such as oblige me to 
struggle with that which is difficult and discouraging ? 
Then courage and wisdom are the graces I most want. 
Whatever our wants are, there are promises in the new co- 
venant adapted to them, which in this ordinance, we must, 
in a particular manner, apply to ourselves, and claim the 
benefit of, and receive as sealed to us. If we cannot be- 
think ourselves of particular promises suited to our case, 
yet there is enough in the general ones : " I will put my 
Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes." 
" I will put my law in your hearts," " and my fear," and 
many such like. And we know who hath said, ** My grace 
is sufficient for thee." 

2. What comfort do I most want? — What is the burden 
that lies most heavy ? I must seek for support under that 
burden. What is the grief that is most grieving ? I must 
seek for a balance to that grief. The guilt of sin is oft 
disquieting to me ; O for the comfort of a sealed pardon ! 
The power of corruption is very discouraging ; O for the 
comfort of victorious grace ! I am often tossed with 
doubts and fears about my spiritual state, as if the Lord 
had *' utterly separated me from his people, and I were a 
dry tree." O for the comfort of clear and unclouded 
evidences ! I am sometimes tempted to say, " the Lord 
hath forsaken me, my God hath forgotten me." O that he 
would seal to my soul that precious promise, '' I will never 
leave thee nor forsake thee !"- But my greatest trouble 
arises from the sense of my own weakness, and tendency 
to backslide; and I am sometimes ready to make that des- 
perate conclusion, *' I shall one day perish by the hand of 
Saul." O that I may have the comfort of that promise, 
" I will put my fear in their hearts that they will not de- 


part from me." There is, in the covenant o£ grace^ a 
salve for every sore, a remedy for every malady, comforti 
suited to every distress and sorrow ; but that we may have 
the benefit of them, it b requisite that we " know every 
one his own sore, and his own grief," that we may spread 
it before the Lord, and may apply to ourselves that relief 
which is proper for it, and '' from the fulness which is in 
Jesus Christ, may receive, and grace for grace," grace for 
all occasions. 

Here it may be of use to take cognizance even of oar 
outward condition, and inquire into the cares and burdens, 
the crosses and necessities of that ; for even against those 
there is comfort provided in the new covenant, and ad- 
ministered in this ordinance, " Grodliness hath the promise 
of the life that now is." When Christ was inviting his dis- 
ciples to come and dine with him, he asked them first, 
" Children have ye any meat." Christ's inquiry into oar 
affairs, directs us to make known before him in particular, 
the trouble of them. Let every care be cast upon the 
Lord in this ordinance, lodged in his hands, and left with 
him ; and let our own spirits be eased of it, by the i^li- 
cation of that general word of comfort to this particular 
case, whatever it is, " He careth for you." What is the 
concern I am most thoughtful about, relating to myself, my 
family, or friends ? Let that way be committed to the 
Lord, and to his wise and gracious conduct and disposal ; 
and then let my thoughts concerning it be established. 
What is the complaint I make most feelingly ? Is it of a 
sickly body, disagreeable relations, a declining estate, the 
removal of those by death that were very dear ? Whatev- 
er it is, spread it before the Lord, as Hezekiah did Rab- 
shakek's letter, and allow no complaint that is not fit to be 
spread before him. When God came to renew his core* 
nant with Abraham, and to tell him that he was his shiisldy 
and his exceeding great reward, Abraham presently puts 
in a remonstrance of his grievance : ** Behold, to me thod 
hast given no seed." Hannah did so, when she came up 
to worship. And we also must bring with us such a par- 
ticular sense of our afflictions, as will enable us to receive 
and apply the comforts here offered to us, and no more. 
Holy David observed how his house was with God, and 



that it was not made to grow, when he was taking the com- 
fort of this, that however it were, " God hath made with 
him an everlasting covenant." 

VI. Inquire, what shalj I resolve to do ? — This questioi^ 
is equivalent to that of Paul, '^ Lord what wilt thou have 
me to do?" We come to this ordinance solemnly to en- 
gage ourselves against all sin, and to all duty ; and therefore 
it is good to consider what that sin is which we should 
particularly covenant against, and what that duty to which 
we should most expressly oblige ourselves. Though the 
general covenant suffice to bind conscience, yet a particu- 
lar article will be of use to mind conscience, and to make 
the general engagement the more effectual. It is good to 
be particular in our pious resolutions, as well as in our 
penitent reflections. 

For our assistance herein let us inquire, 

1. Wherein have we hitherto missed it most? — ^Where 
we have found ourselves most assaulted by the subtlety of 
the tempter, and most exposed by our own weakness, there 
we should strengthen our defence and double our guard. 
What is the sin that hath most easily beset me ? the well cir- 
cumstanced sin ? that is it which I must more particularly 
resolve against in the strength of the grace of God. What 
is the duty I have most neglected, have been most back- 
ward to, and most careless in? To that I must most 
solemnly bind my soul with this bond. 

2. Wherein we may have the best opportunity of glori- 
fying God ? — What can I do in my place for the service of 
God's honour, and the interests of his kingdom among 
men 1 " The liberal deviseth liberal things," and so the 
pious deviseth pious things, that he may both engage and 
excite himself to those liberal pious things, in and by this 
ordinance. What is the talent I am intrusted with the im- 
provement of? My Lord's goods I am made steward of. 
What is it that is expected from one in my capacity? 
What fruit is looked for from me ? That is it that I must 
especially have an eye to in my covenants with God ; to 
that I must bind my soul ; for that I must fetch in help 
frcuQ heaven, that, having sworn, I may perform it. 




It is the wonderful condescension of the God of heaven, 
that he hath been pleased to deal with man in the way of 
a covenant, that, on the one hand, we might receive strong 
consolations from the promises of the covenant, which are 
very sweet and precious ; and, on the other hand, might 
lie under strong obligations from the conditions of the 
covenant, which, on this account, have greater cogency in 
them than mere precept, that we ourselves have occasioned 
to them, and that we have therein consulted our own inter- 
est and advantage. 

The ordinance of the Lord's Supper, being a seal of the 
covenant, and the solemn exchanging of the ratifications 
of it, it is necessary we make the covenant before we pre- 
tend to seal it. In this order, therefore, we must proceed, 
first give the hand to the Lord, and then enter into the 
sanctuary; first in secret consent to the covenant, and 
then solemnly testify that consent : this is like a contract 
before marriage. They that " ask the way to Zion, with 
their faces thitherward, must join themselves to the Lord 
in a perpetual covenant." The covenant is mutual, and 
in vain do we expect the blessings of the covenant, if we 
be not truly willing to come under the bonds of the cove- 
nant. We must '* enter into covenant with the Lord our 
God, and into his oath ;" else he doth not " establish us this 
day for a people unto himself" We are not owned and 
accepted as God's people, though we " come before him 
as his people come," and sit before him as his people sit, 
if we do not in sincerity " avouch the Lord for our Grod." 
In our baptism this was done for us, in the Lord's Supper 
we must do it for ourselves, else we do nothing. 

Let us consider then, in what method, and after what 
manner, we must manage this great transaction. 

First, In what method we must renew our covenant 
with God in Christ, and by what steps we must proceed. 


I. We must repent of our sins, by which we hare ren- 
dered ourselves unworthy to be taken into covenant with 
God. Those that would be exalted to this honour, must 
first humUe themselves. ** God layelh his beam in the 
waters." The foundations of spiritual joy are laid in the 
waters of penitential tears, therefore this sealing ordinance 
sets that before us, which is proper to move our godly 
sorrow : in it we look on him whom we have pierced, and 
if we do not mourn, %ind be not in bitterness for him, 
surely " our hearts are as hard as a stone, yea, harder than 
a piece of the nether millstone." Those that join them- 
selves to the Lord, must go weeping to do it : so they did 
— " In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the 
children of Israel shall come, they and the children of 
Judah together, going and weeping : they shall go, and 
seek the Lord their God They shall ask the way to 
Zion, with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let 
us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that 
shall not be forgotten." That comfort is likely to last, 
which takes rise from deep humiliation, and contrition of 
soul for sin. Those only that go forth weeping, bearing this 
precious seed, shall come again rejoicing in God as theirs, 
and bring the sheaves of covenant blessings and comforts 
with them. Let us therefore begin with this : 

1. We have reason to bewail our natural estrangement 
from this covenant. When we come to be for God, we 
have reason to be affected with sorrow and shame, that 
ever we were for any other ; that ever there should have 
been occasion for our reconciliation to God, which suppo- 
seth that there hath been a quarrel. Wretch that I am, 
ever to have been a stranger, an enemy to the Grod that 
made me, at war with my Creator, and in league with the 
rebels against his crown and dignity ? O the folly, and 
wickedness, and misery of my natural estate ! My first 
father an Amorite, and my mother a Hittite, and myself a 
transgressor from the womb, alienated from the life of God, 
and cast out in my pollution. Nothing in me lovely, noth- 
ing amiable, but a great deal loathsome and abominable. 
Such as this was my nativity, my original. 

2. We have reason to bewail our backwardness to come 
yito this covenant. Well may we be ashamed to think 


how long God called, and we refused ; how oft he stretched 
forth his hand before we regarded ; how manj offers of 
mercy we slighted, and against how many kind invitations 
we stood out ; how long Clirist stood at the door and knock- 
ed before we opened to him ; and how many firiTolous ex- 
cuses we made to put off this necessary work. What a fool 
was I to stand in my own light so long ? How ungrateful 
to the God of love, who waited to be gracious ? How just- 
ly might I have been for ever excluded from this covenant, 
who so long neglected that great salvation ? Wherefore 
I abhor myself. 

3. We have reason to bewail the inconsistency of oar 
hearts and lives to the terms of this covenant,, since first 
we professed our consent to it. In many instances we 
have dealt foolishly, it is well if we have not dealt falsely 
in the covenant. In our baptism we were given up to 
Christ to be his, but we have lived as if we were our own; 
we then put on the Christian livery, but we have done lit- 
tle of the Christian's work ; we were called by Christ's 
name to take away our reproach, but how little have we 
been under the conduct and government of the Spirit of 
Christ ? Since we became capable of acting for ourselves, 
perhaps we have oil renewed our covenant with God, at his 
table, and upon other occasions ; but we have despised the 
oath, " in breaking the covenant, when lo we had given 
the hand." Our performances have not answered the en- 
gagements we have solemnly laid ourselves under. Did we 
not say, and say it with the blood of Christ in our hands, that 
we would be the faithful servants of the God of heaven t 
We did ; and yet instead of serving God, we have served di- 
vers lusts and pleasures, we have made ourselves slaveq 
to the flesh, and drudges to the world* and this " hath been 
our manner from our youth up." Did we not say, " we would 
not transgress, we would not offend any more ?" We did, 
and yet ** our transgressions are multiplied, and in many 
things we offend daily." Did we not say, we would walk 
more closely with God, more circumspectly in our conver- 
sation, we would be better in our closets, better in our fami- 
lies, better in our callings, every way better ? We did, 
and yet we are still vain and careless, and unprofitable ; all 
those good purposes have been to little purpose ; this is a 


lamentation, and should be for a lamentation. Let our 
hearts be truly broken for our former breach of covenant 
with God, and then the renewing of our covenant Will be 
the recovery of our peace, and that which was broken 
shall be bound up, and made to rejoice. 

II. We must renounce the devil, the world, and the 
&sh, and every thing that stands in opposition to, or com- 
petition with the God to whom we join ourselves by cove* 
nant. If we will indeed deal sincerely in our covenanting 
with God, and would be accepted of him therein, our 
" covenant with death must be disannulled, and our agree- 
ment with hell must not stand.'' All these foolish, sinful 
agreements, which were indeed null and void from the be- 
ginning, by which we had alienated ourselves from our 
rightful owner, and put ourselves in possession of the usur- 
per, must be revoked and cancelled, and our consent to 
them drawn back with disdain and abhorrence. When we 
take an oath of allegiance to God and Christ as our right- 
ful king and sovereign, we must herein adjure the tyranny 
of the rebellious and rival powers. " O Lord our God, 
other lords besides thee have had dominion over us," while 
sin hath reigned in our mortal bodies, in our immortal 
souls, and every lust hath been a Lord ; but now we are 
weary of that heavy yoke, and through God's grace it 
shall be so no longer ; for, from henceforth, *' by thee only 
will we make mention of thy name." 

The covenant into which we are to enter is a marriage 
45ovenant, " thy Maker is to be thy husband," and thou art 
to be betrothed to him ; and it is the ancient and funda- 
mental law of that covenant, that all other lovers be re- 
nounced, all other beloved ones forsaken, and the same is 
the law of this covenant : ** Thou shalt not be for another 
man, so will I also be for thee." Quitting all others, we 
must cleave to the Lord only ; lovers and crowned heads 
will not endure rivals ; on these terms, and no other, we 
may covenant with God : " If ye do return unto the Lord 
with all your hearts, then put away the strange gods, and 
Ashtaroth," else it is not a return to God. 

1. We must renounce all subjection to Satan's rule and 
government. Satan's seat must be overturned in our 
hearts, and the Redeemer's throne set up there upon the 


ruins of it. We must disclaim the devil's power ovef ns, 
east off that iron yoke, and resolve to he deceived by him 
no more, and led captive by him at his will no more. We 
must quit the service of the citizen of that country, and 
feed his swine no longer, feed upon his husks no more, 
that we may return to our father's house, where there is 
bread enough and to spare. We must renounce the treach- 
erous conduct of the evil spirit, that we may put ourselves 
under the guidance of the holy and good Spirit. All that 
turn to God, must turn from the power of Satan ; for what 
communion hath Christ with Belial. Our covenant with 
God engageth us in a war with Satan ; for the contro- 
versy between them is such as will by no means allow us 
to stand neutral. 

2.' We must renounce all compliance with the wills and 
interests of the flesh. The body, though near and deai to 
the soul, yet must not be allowed to have dominion over it 
The liberty, sovereignty, and honour of the imiyortal 
spirit, by which we were allied to the upper world ; that 
world of spirits must be asserted, vindicated, and main- 
tained against the usurpation and encroachments of the 
body, which is of the earth earthly, and by which we are 
allied to the beasts that perish. The elder too long hath 
served the younger, the nobler hath served the baser ; it is 
time that the yoke should be broken from off its neck, and 
that that part of the man should rule under Christ, whose 
right it is. The servants on horseback must be dismount- 
ed, the lust of the flesh denied, and its will no longer ad- 
mitted to give law to the man ; and the princes who have 
walked like servants upon the earth, must be raised from 
the dunghill, and made to inherit the throne of glory; 
the dictates, 1 mean of right reason, guided by revelation, 
and consulting the true interest of the better part, must 
have the commanding sway and empire in us. We must 
never more make it our chief good to have the flesh pleased, 
and the desires of it gratified, nor ever make it our chief 
business to make provision for the flesh, that we may ful- 
fil the lusts of it. Away with them, away with them ; 
crucify them, crucify them ; for, like Barabbas, they are 
robbers, they are murderers, they are enemies to our peace. 


We will not have them to reign over us ; no, no, we know 
them too well ; we have no king but Jesus. 

8. We must renounce all* dependance upon this present 
world, and conformity to it. If we enter into a covenant 
which ensures us a happiness in the other world, on which 
we look with a holy concern, we must disclaim the ex- 
pectations of happiness in this world, and therefore look 
upon this with a holy /Contempt. God and mammon, God 
and gain, these are contrary the one to the other. So 
that if we will be found loving God, and cleaving to him, 
we must despise the world, and sit loose to that. We 
must so far ^renounce the way of the world, as not to 
govern ourselves by that, and take our principles and 
measures from it ; for we must not be *' conformed to this 
word," nor "walk according to the course of it" We 
must so far renounce the men of the world, as not to incorpo- 
rate ourselves with them, nor choose them for our people ; 
because, though we are in the world, we are not of the world, 
nor have we received the spirit of the world, but Christ 
hath chosen and called us out of it. We must so far re- 
nounce the wealth of the world, as not to portion ourselves 
out of it, nor lay up our treasure in it ; nor to take up with 
the things of this world, as our good things, as our conso- 
lation, as our reward, as the penny we agree for. For in 
God's favour is our life, and not in the smiles of this world. 
The Lord make us cordial in thus renouncing these com- 
petitors, that we may be found sincere in covenanting with 
God in the Lord Jesus Christ ! 

III. We must receive the Lord Jesus Christ, as he is 
offered' to us in the gospel. In renewing our covenants 
with God, it is not enough to enter our dissent from the 
WOTld and the flesh, and to shake off Satan's yoke, but we 
must enter our consent to Christ, and take upon us l^is 
yoke. In the everlasting gospel, both as it is written in 
the Scripture, and as it is sealed in this sacrament, salva- 
tion by Christ, that great salvation, is fairly tendered to us 
who need it sind are undone for ever without it. We then 
come into covenant with God, when we accept of this sal- 
vation, with an entire complacency and confidence in those 
methods which infinite wisdom hath taken, of reconciling 
a guilty and obnoxious world to himself by the mediation 


of his own Son, and a cheerful compliance with those 
methods for ourselves and our own salvation. — Lord, I take 
thee at thy word : he it unto thy servant according to that 
word, which is so well ordered in all things, and so sure ! 

We must accept the salvation in Christ's way, and upon 
his terms, else our acceptance is not accepted. 

By a hearty consent to the grace of Christy we must ac- 
cept the salvation in his own way, in such a vi^y as for 
ever excludes boasting, humbles man to the dust, and will 
admit no flesh to glory in his presence ; such a way. as, 
though it leaves the blood of them that perish upon their 
own heads, yet lays all the crowns of them that are saved 
at the feet of free grace. This method we must ap^urove 
of, and love this salvation; not going about to establish 
our own righteousness, as if, by pleading not guilty, we 
could answer the demands of the covenant of inuocency, 
and so be justified and saved by that, — ^but submitting " to 
the righteousness of God by faith." All the concerns that 
lie between us and God, we must put into the hands of the 
Lord Jesus, as the great Mediator, the great manager ; we 
must be content to be nothing, that the Lord alone may be 
exalted, and Christ may be all in all. .God hath declared 
more than once by a voice from heaven, '^ This is my be- 
loved Son in whom I am well pleased." To consent to 
Christ's grace, and accept of salvation in his way, is to 
echo back that solemn declaration, — This is my beloved 
Saviour in whom I am well pleased: the Lord will be 
pleased with me in him ; for out of him I can expect no 

By a hearty consent to the government of Christ, we 
must accept the salvation on his own terms. When we 
receive Christ, we must receive an entire Christ ; for, " is 
Christ divided ?" A Christ to sanctify and rule us, as we^l 
as a Christ to justify and save us ; for he is a priest upon 
his throne, and the council of peace is between them both. 
What God has joined together, let us not think to put 
asunder. He saves his people from their sins, not in their 
sins ; and is the author of eternal redemption to those only 
that obey him. That very " grace of God which bringeth 
salvation, teacheth us to deny ungodliness, and worldly and 
fleshly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in 


this world." Life and peace are to be had on these terms^ 
and on no other ; and are we willing to come up to these 
terms ? Will we receive Christ and his law, as well as 
Christ and his love? Christ and his cross as well as 
Christ and his crown ? Lord, I will, saith the believing 
soul ; Lord, I do. " My beloved is mine, and I am his," 
to all the intents and purposes of the covenant. 

IV. We must resign and give up ourselves to God in 
Christ-i— God in our covenant makes over not only his gifts 
and favours, but himself to us : "I will be to them a God." 
What he is in himself, he will be to us a Grod all-suffi- 
cient : so we in the covenant must offer up, not only our 
services, but ourselves ; our own selves, body, soul, and 
spirit, to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, according 
to the obligations of our baptism, as those that are bound 
■to be to him a people. This surrender is to be solemnly 
made at the Lord's table, and sealed there ; it must there- 
fore be prepared and made ready before. Let us see to it, 
that it be carefully drawn up without exception or limita- 
tion, and the heart examined, whether a free and full con- 
sent be given to it. We must first give our own selves 
onto the Lord, and I know not how we can dispose of 
ourselvies better. By the mercies of God, which are in- 
viting, and very encouraging, we must be wrought upon to 
present our bodies and souls to God a living sacrifice of 
acknowledgment j not a dying sacrifice of atonement; 
which, if it be holy, shall be acceptable, and it is our rea- 
sonable service. Thus he that covenants with God, is di- 
rected to say, " I am the Lord's, and for the greater solem- 
nity of the transaction, to subscribe with his hand unto the 
Lord." Not that we do, or can hereby transfer or convey 
to God any right to us which he had not before. He is 
our absolute Lord and owner, and hath an incontestible 
sovereignty over us and propriety in us, as he is our Crea- 
tor, Preserver, Benefactor and Redeemer ; but hereby we 
recognize and acknowledge his right to us. We are his 
already by obligation, more his than our ovm ; but, that 
we may have the benefit and comfort of being so, we must 
be his by our own consent. More particularly, 

1. To resign ourselves to God, is to " dedicate and de- 
vote ourselves to his praise." It is not enough to call our- 


selfes by his name, and associate ourselves with those that 
do to, to take away our reproach ; but we must consecrate 
oursekes to his name, as living temples. It is a gift, a 
gift to God ; all I am, all I have, all 1 can do is so ; it is a 
dedicated thing, which it is sacrilege to alienate. All the 
powers and faculties of our souls, all the parts and mem- 
bers of our bodies, we must, as those that are alive from 
the dead, freely yield unto God as instruments of right- 
eousness, to be used and employed in his service for his 
glory. All our endowments, all our attainments, all those 
ihings we call accomplishments, must be accounted as ta- 
lents, which vvc must trade with for his honour. All being 
of him and ftom him, all must be to him and for him. Our 
tongues must not be our own, but his in nothing to offend 
him, but to speak his praise, and plead his cause, as there 
is occasion. Our time not our own, but as a servant's 
time, to be spent according to our Master's directions, and 
some way or other to our Master's glory, every day "being 
in this sense our Lord's day. Our estates not our own, 
to be spent or spared by the direction of our lusts, but to 
be used as God directs: " God must be honoured with oUr 
substance" — " And our merchandise and our hire must be 
holiness to the Lord." Our interest not our own, with it to 
seek our own glory, but to be improved in seeking and 
serving God's glory ; that is, God's glory must be fixed and 
aimed at as our highest and ultimate end, in all the care we 
take about our employrhents, and all the comforts we take in 
our enjoyments. " As good stewards of the manifold grace 
of God," we must have this still in our eye, " that God in 
all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ." By this 
pious attention common actions must be sanctified, and 
done ** after a godly sort." Our giving up ourselves to be 
to God a people, is thus explained : *• To be to him for a 
name and for a praise, and for a glory." 

2. To resign ourselves to God, " is to subject and sub- 
mit ourselves to his power ;" to the sanctifying power of 
his Spirit, the commanding power of his law, and the dis- 
posing power of his providence. Such as this is the sub- 
jection to which we must consent, and it hath in it so much 
of privilege and advantage, as well as duty and service, 
that we have no reason to stumble at it. 


l^t, We must submit ourselves to the sanctifying power 
of God's Spirit. — ^We must lay our souls as soft wax under 
this seal, to receive the impresisions of it ; as white paper 
under this pen, that it may write the law there. Whereas, 
we have resisted the Holy Ghost, quenched his motions, 
&nd striven against him when he hath been striving with 
uSy we must now yield ourselves to be led and influenced 
by him, with full purpose of heart in every thing to follow 
lus conduct, and comply with him. When Christ in his 
gospel breathes on us, saying, *^ Receive ye the Holy 
Ghost," my heart must answer, " Lord I receive him," I 
bid him welcome into my heart; though he come as 
9 spirit of judgment, and a spirit of burning, as a reiin* 
er's fire, and fuller's soap, yet '^ blessed is he that cometh 
in the name of the Lord." Let him come and mortify my 
lusts and corruptions, I do not desire that any of them 
should be spared ; let them die, let them die by the sword 
of the Spirit, Agag himself not excepted, though he comes 
delicately. Let every thought within me, even the inward 
thought, " be brought into captivity to the obedience of 
Christ." Let the blessed Spirit do his whole work in me, 
and fulfil it with an almighty power. 

2d, We must submit ourselves to the commanding pow- 
er of God's law. The law, as it is in the hand of the Media- 
tor, is God's instrument of government ; if I yield myself 
to him as a subject, I must in every thing be observant of, 
and obedient to, that law ; and now I covenant to be so, 
in all my way to walk according to that rule; all my 
thoughts and affections, all my words and actions, shall be 
under the direction of the divine law, and subject to its 
check and restraint. God's judgments will I lay before 
me, and have respect to all his commandments ; by them I 
•will always be ruled, over-ruled. " Let the word of the 
Lord come," as a good man once said, " and if I had six 
hundred necks, I would bow them all to the authority of 
it." Whatever appears to me to be my duty, by the grace 
of God I will do it, how much soever it interfere with my 
secular interest ; whatever appears to me to be a sin, by 
the grace of God I will avoid it, and refrain from it, how 
strong soever my corrupt inclination may be to it : ''All 


that the Lord shall say to me, I will do, and will be obe- 

3d, We must submit ourselves to the disposing power of 
God's providence. This must be the rule of our patience 
and passive obedience, as the former of our practice and 
active obedience. All my affairs relating to this life, I 
cheerfully submit to the divine disposal ; let them be di- 
rected and determined as infinite wisdom sees fit, and I 
will acquiesce. Let the Lord save my soul, and then as 
to every thing else, ** let him do with me and mine as 
seemeth good unto him ;" I will never^find fault with any 
thing that God doth. '' Not as I will, but as thou wilt" I 
know I have no wisdom of my own ; I am a fool, if I lean 
to my own understanding ; and therefore I will have no 
will of my own : *^ Father, thy will be done." The health 
of my body, the success of my calling, the pro^ierity of 
my estate, the agreeableness of my family, the continuanoe 
of"^ my comforts, and the issue of any particular concern, 
my hearts is open, I leave in the hands of my heavenly Father, 
who knows what is good for mc, better than I do for myself 
If in any of these I be crossed, by the grace of God I will! 
submit without murmuring or disputing. All is well that 
God doth, and therefore welcome the will of God in every 
event ; while he is mine and I am his, nothing shall come 
amiss to me. 

V. We must resolve to abide by it as long as we live, 
and to live up to it. In our covenanting with God, there 
must be, not only a present consent, Lord, I do take thee finr 
mine, I do give up myself to thee, to be thine, — but this must 
be ripened into a resolution for the future, ^ withpurpoeeof 
heart to cleave unto the Lord ." We must lay hold on wisdom, 
80 as to retain it ; and choose the way of truth, so as to stick 
to it. *' The nail in the holy place must be well cleansed, 
that it may be a nail in a sure place." Many a pang of 
good affections, and many a hopeful turn of good mclunr 
tions, comes to nothing, for want of resolution. It is said 
of Rehoboam, that he *^ did evil, because he prepared not, 
or he fixed not, his heart ; so the word is in the margio, 
" to seek the Lord." The heart that is unfixed, is unpre- 
pared. Joshua took pains with the pec^le, to bring then 


Op to that noble resolution, " Nay, but we will serve the 
Lord." And we should not be content till we are also in 
like manner resolved, and firmly fixed, for God and duty, 
for Christ and heaven. This is the preparation of the gos- 
pel of peace, wherewith our feet must be shod. 

Let us inquire what that resolution is, to which, in an 
entire dependence upon the grace of Christ, we should 
come up, in our everlasting covenanting with God. 

1. We must come up to such a settled resolution as doth 
not reserve a power of revocation for ourselves. The cov- 
enant is in itself a perpetual covenant, and as such we 
must consent to it ; not as servants hire themselves, for 
a year, or to be free at a quarter's warning , not as appren- 
tices bind themselves, for seven years, to be discharged at 
the expiring of that term ; but it must be a covenant for life, 
a covenant for eternity, a covenant never to be forgotten ; and 
in this even beyond the marriage-covenant, for that is made 
with this proviso, " Till death us do part ;" but death itself 
must not part us and Christ. Our covenant must be made like 
that servant's, who loved his master, and would not go out 
iree ; our ears must be nailed to God's door-post, and we 
mast resolve to serve him for ever. A power of revocation 
reserved, is a disannulling of the covenant. It is no bar- 
gain, if it be not for a perpetuity, and if we consent not to 
put it past recal. 

Let not those that are young, and under tutors and gov- 
ernors, think to discharge themselves of those obligations, 
when they come to be of age, and to put them off with their 
childish things ; no, you must resolte to adhere to it, as 
Moses did, when you come to years. As children are not 
too little, so grown people are not too big, to be religious. 
You must resolve to live under the bonds of this covenant, 
when you come to live of yourselves, to be at your own 
disposal, and to launch out never so far into this world. 
Your greatest engagements in care and business, cannot 
disengage you fi'om these. Whatever state of life you are 
called to, you must resolve to take your religion with you 
into it. 

Let not those who are in the midst of their days think 
it possible or desirable to outlive the binding force of this 
covenant. If now we set out in the way we should go, it 


must be with a resolution ; if we live to be old, how wise 
and honourable soever old age be, yet then we '' will not 
depart from it/' as knowing that the hoary hairs are then 
only " a crown of glory, when they are found," as having 
been long before fixed ** in the way of righteousness." 

2. We must come up to such a strong resolution as will 
not yield to the power of temptation from the enemy. 
When we engage ourselves for God, we engage ourselves 
against Satan, and must expect his utmost efforts to oppose 
us in OUT way, and to draw us out of it. Against these 
designs we must therefore arm ourselves, resolving to stand 
in the evil day, and having done all in God's name, to stand 
our ground, saying to all that which would either divert or 
deter us from prosecuting the choice we have made, as 
Ruth did to Naomi, when she was steadfastly resolved : — 
Entreat me not to leave Christ, or turja from following after 
him ; for whither he goes, I will follow him, though it be 
to banishment ; where he lodges, I will lodge with him, 
though it be in a prison ; for death itself shall never part us. 

We must resolve, by God's grace, never to be so elevat- 
ed or enamoured with the smiles of the world, as by them 
to be allured from the paths of serious godliness ; for our 
religion will be both the safety and honour of a prosperous 
condition, and will sanctify and sweeten all the comforts of 
it to us. 

And we must in like manner resolve never to be so dis- 
couraged and disheartened by the frowns of the world, as 
by the force of them to be robbed of our joy in God, or by 
the fear of them to be driven from our duty to God. We 
must come to Christ with a steady resolution to abide by 
him in all conditions : ^' Lord, I will follow thee wither- 
soever thou goest. Though I should die with thee, yet will 
I not deny thee. None of these things move me." 

VI. We must rely upon the righteousness and strength 
of our Lord Jesus Christ in all this. — Christ is the Media- 
tor of this peace, and the guarantee of it, the surety of this 
better covenant, that blessed days-man, which hath laid his 
hand upon us both, who hath so undertaken for God, that 
** in him all God's promises to us, are yea and amen ;" and 
unless he undertakes for us too, how can our promises to 
God have any strength or stability in them ? When, there- 


fore, we enter into covenant with God, our eye must be to 
Christ, the Alpha and Omega of that covenant. When 
God had " sworn by himself that unto him every knee 
should bow, and every tongue shall swear," immediately it 
follows : " Surely shall one say," every one that vows and 
swears to God, " in the Lord have I righteousness and 
strength ;" in the Lord Jesus is all my sufficiency for the 
doing of this well. In making and renewing our covenant 
with God, we must take instructions from that of David : 
" I will go on in the strength of the Lord God ; I will 
make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only." 

1. We must depend upon the strength of the Lord for 
assistance, and for the working of all our works in us and 
for us. In that strength we must go, go forth, and go on, 
as those that know we can do nothing that is good of our- 
selves ; our own hands are not sufficient for us, but we can 
"do all things through Christ strengthening us." Our 
work then goes on, and then only, when we are " strength- 
ened with all might by his Spirit." This way we must 
look for spiritual strength, as Nehemiah : ** Now, therefore, 
O God, strengthen my hands." On this strength we must 
stay ourselves, in this strength we must engage ourselves, 
and put forth ourselves, and with it we must encourage 

We cannot keep this covenant when it is made, nor 
make it at all, but in the strength of Christ. Nature, cor- 
rupt nature, inclines to the world and the fiesh, and cleaves 
to them ; without the influences of special grace, we should 
never* move towards God, much less resolve for him ; we 
cannot do it well, but in Christ's strength, and in a depen- 
dence upon that. If, like Peter, we venture on our own 
sufficiency, tmd use those forms of speech which import a 
reliance on the divine grace, only as words of course, and 
do not by faith trust to that grace, and derive from it, we 
forfeit the aids of it, our covenant is rejected as presumptu- 
ous, and shall not avail us. Promises made in our own 
strength betray us, and do not help us, like the house built 
on the sand. We cannot keep this covenant, when it is 
made, but in the strength of Christ ; for we stand no lon- 
ger than he by his grace upholds us : we go no further 
Chan he bj his grace, not only leads us^X^xxl caxu^^xm^. 


His promises to us are our security, not ours to him ; from 
his fulness, therefore, we must expect to receive grace for 
grace ; for it is not in ourselves, nor is it to be had any 
where but in him. 

We then that are principals in the bond, knowing our- 
selves insolvent, must put him in as surety* for us. He is 
willing to stand, and without him our bond will not be ta- 
ken. We are too well known to be trusted ; for all men 
are liars, and the heart is deceitful above all things. Gro 
to Christ, therefore, with that address : " Be surety for thy 
servant for good." *^ I am oppressed, undertake for me." 

2. We must depend on the righteousness of Christ, ma- 
king mention of that, even of that only, for acceptance with 
God in our covenanting with him ; we have nothing in us 
to recommend us to God's favour, no righteousness of our 
own wherein to appear before him ; we have by sin not 
only forfeited all the blessings of the covenant, but incapa- 
citated ourselves for admission into it. By sacrifice there- 
fore, by a sacrifice of atonement, sufficient to expiate our 
guilt, and satisfy the demands of injured justice, we must 
make a covenant with God ; and there is none such but 
that one offering by which Christ has *' perfected for ever 
them which are sanctified ;" that is, the blood of the cov- 
enant, which must be sprinkled upon our consciences, 
when we join ourselves to the Lord. That everlasting 
righteousness, which Messiah the prince hath brought in, 
must be the cover of our spiritual nakedness, our weddiog 
garment to adorn our nuptials, and the foundation on which 
we must build all our hopes, to find favour in the sight of 

I shall not here draw up a formof covenanting with God, 
both because such may be found drawn up by far better 
hands than mine, as Mr. Baxter, Mr. Alleine, and others, 
and because a judicious Christian may, out of the forego- 
ing heads, easily draw up one for himself. 

Second, After what manner we must renew our coven- 
ant with God, that we may therein please God, and expe- 
rience the good effect of it on our souls. ^ 

1 . We must do it intelligently. — Blind promises will pro- 
duce lame performances, and can never be acceptable to 
the seeing God : ignorance is not the mother of this devo- 


tion. Satan indeed puts out men's eyes, and so brings 
them into bondage to him, and leads them blindfold ; for 
he is a thief and a robber, that comes not in by the door, 
but climbeth up some other way ; and therefore to him we 
must not open. But the grace of God takes the regular 
way of dealing with reasonable creatures ; opening the un- 
derstanding first, and then bowing the will ; this is entering 
in by the door, as the shepherd of the sheep doth. In this 
method, therefore, we must see that the work be done. 
We must first acquaint ourselves with the tenor of the cov- 
enant, and then consent to the terms of it. Moses read the 
book of the covenant in the audience of the people, and 
then sprinkled upon them the blood of the covenant. And 
we must take the same method : first peruse the articles, 
and then sign them. That faith which is without knowl- 
edge, is not the faith of God's elect. 

2. We must do it considerately. We need not take time 
to consider whether we should do it or not, the matter is 
too plain to bear that debate ; we must seriously consider 
what we do, when we go about it. Let it be done with a 
solemn pause, such as Moses put Israel upon, when he said, 
** Ye stand this day all of you before the Lord your God, 
that thou shouldest enter into covenant with the Lord your 
God, and into his oath." Consider how weighty the trans- 
action is, that it may be managed with due seriousness ; 
and of what consequence is it that it be done well, for it is 
to be hoped, if it be once well done, it is done for ever. 
We must sit down and count the cost, consider the res- 
traints this covenant will put upon the flesh, the loss and 
expense we may sustain by our adherence to it, the hazards 
we run, and the difficulties we must reckon upon, if we will 
be faithful unto death, — and in the view of this consent to 
the covenant, that hereafter, when tribulation and persecu- 
tion arise because of the word, we may not say, This was 
what we did not think of. Do it deliberately therefore, 
and then it will not be easily undone. The rule in vowing 
is, " Be not rash with thy mouth, neither let thy heart be 
hasty to utter any thing before God." It is the character 
of a virtuous woman, that *' she considers a field and buys 
it." And it hath been thought a dictate of prudence, 
though it seem a paradox, — " Take time, and you will have 


done the sooner.'' Many that, without consideration, hath 
put on a profession, when the wind hath turned, hath in 
like manner, without consideration, thrown it off again. 
Light come, light go. Those, therefore, that herein would 
prove themselves honest, must prove themselves wise. 

We must do it humbly. — When we come to covenant 
with Gpd, we must remember what we are, and who he is 
with whom we have to do, that the familiarity to which we 
are graciously admitted, may not beget a contempt of God, 
or a conceit of ourselves ; but rather, the more God is 
pleased to exalt us, and condescend to us, the more we 
must honour him, and abase ourselves : ** Abraham fell 
on his face," in a deep sense of his own iin worthiness, 
when God said, " I will make my covenant between me 
and thee/' and began to talk with him concerning it. 
And afterwards, when he was admitted into an intimate 
communion with God, pursuant to that covenant, he drew 
near as one that new his distance, expressing himself with 
wonder at the favour done him : " Behold, now I have 
taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, who am but dust 
and ashes." When the covenant of royalty was confirmed 
to David, and *' God regardeth him according to the estate 
of a man of high degree," he sits down as one astonished 
at the honour conferred upon him, and humbly expresseth 
himself thus — " Who am I, O Lord God, and what is mine 
house, that thou hast brought me hitherto ? Thus must we 
cast ourselves down at the footstool of God's throne, if we 
would be taken up into the embraces of his love. He that 
humbles himself, shall be exalted. 

We must do it cheerfully ; for here, in a special manner, 
God loves a cheerful giver, and is pleased with that which 
is done, not of constraint, but willingly. In our covenant- 
ing with God we must not be actuated by a spirit of fear, 
but by a spirit of adoption, a spirit of power and love, and 
a sound mind. .We must join ourselves to the Lord, not 
only because it is our duty, and that which we are bound 
to, but because it is our interest, and that by which we 
shall be unspeakable gainers, — not with reluctance and 
regret, and with a half consent extorted from us, but with 
an entire satisfaction, and the full consent of a free spirit. 
Let it be a pleasure to us to think of our interest in God as 


ours, and our engagement to him as his; a pleasure to us 
to think of the bonds of the covenant, as well as of the 
blessings of the covenant. Much of our communion with 
God (which is so much the delight of all that are sancti- 
fied) is kept up by the frequent recognition of our covenant 
with him, which we should make as those that like their 
choice too well to change ; and as the men of Judah did, 
when " they sware unto the Lord with a loud voice, and 
with shouting and with trumpets, and all Judah rejoiced at 
the oath ; for they had sworil with all their heart, and sought 
him with their whole desire." Christ's soldiers must be 
volunteers, not pressed men ; and we must repeat our con- 
sent to him with such joy and triumph as appears in that 
of the spouse, ''This is my beloved, and this is my 

We must do it in sincerity. — This is the chief thing re- 
quired in every thing wherein we have to do with God : 
" Behold, he desires truth in the inward parts." When 
God took Abraham into covenant with himself, this was 
the charge he gave him, " Walk before me and be thou 
perfect," that is, upright; for uprightness is our gospel 
perfection. Writing the covenant, and subscribing it^ 
signing and sealing it, may be proper expressions of seri- 
ousness and resolution in the transaction, and of use to us 
in the review ; but, if herein we '* lie unto God with our 
mouth, and flatter him with our tongue," as Israel did^ 
though we may put a cheat upon ourselves and others, yet 
we cannot impose upon him : " be not deceived, God is 
not mocked." If we only give the hand unto the Lord, 
and do not give our hearts to him, whatever our preten> 
sions, professions, and present pangs of devotion may be, 
we are but as sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal. 
What will it avail us to say, we covenant with God, if we 
still keep our league with the world ancf the flesh, and 
have a secret antipathy to serious godliness ? Dissembled 
piety is no disguise before God, but is hated as double ini- 
quity. It is certain thou hast no part nor lot in the mat- 
ter, whatever thou mayst claim, if thy heart be not right 
in the sight of God. I know no religion but sincerity ; 
our vows to God are nothing, if th^y be not bonds upoB 
the soul. 




Meditation and prayer are the daily exercise of a de- 
vout and pious soul. In meditation we converse with our- 
selves; in prayer we converse with God. And what 
converse can we desire more agreeable and more ad van* 
tageous ? They who are frequent and serious in these holy 
duties at other times, will find them the easier and the 
snveeter on this occasion ; the friends we are much with, 
we are most free with. But if at other times, we be not 
. so close and constant to them as we should be, we have 
the more need to take pains with our own hearts, that we 
may effectually engage them in these services, when we 
approach the ordinance of the Lord's Supper. 

Enter into thy closet, therefore, and shut the door of 
that against diversions from without : be not shy of being 
alone. The power of godliness withers and declines, 3* 
secret devotion be either neglected, or negligently perform- 
ed. Enter into thy heart also, and do what thou canst 
to shut the door of that against distraction from within. 
Compose thyself for business, and summon all that is 
within thee to attend on it ; separate thyself from the 
worlds and thoughts of it ; leave all its cares at the bottom 
•f the hill, as Abraham bid his servants, when he was 
going up into the mount to worship God, and then set thy- 
self about thy work ; gird up thy loins, and trim thy lamp. 
Up and be doing, and the Lord be with thee. 

I. We must set ourselves to meditate on that which is 
most proper for the confirming of our faith, and the kind- 
Hng of pious and devout affections in us. Good thoughts 
should be ofl in our minds, and welcome there ; so should 
our souls oflen breathe towards God in pious ejaculations that 
are short and sudden. But as good prayers, so good thoughts 
must sometimes be set and solemn ; morqing and evening 
l!iey must be so, on the Lord's day also, and^ before the 
Xord's supper, 


Meditation in thought engaged, and thought inflamed. 

It is thought engaged. — ^In it the heart fastens upon^ 
and fixes to a select and certain subject, with an endeavour 
to dwell and enlarge upon it ; not matters of doubtfld dis- 
putation, or small concern, but those things that are of 
greatest certainty and moment; and since few of the 
ordinary sort of Christians can be supposed to have such a 
treasury of knowledge, such a fruitfulness of invention, 
and so great a compass and readiness of thought, as to be. 
able to discourse with themselves for any time upon any 
one subject, so closely, methodically, and pertinently as 
one 'would wish, it may be advisable, either to fasten upon 
some portion of Scripture, and to read that over and over, 
with a closeness of observation and application, or to recol- 
lect some profitable sermon lately heard, and think that 
over ; or to make use of some books of pious meditations 
or practical discourses, (of which, blessed be God, we hav« 
great plenty and variety,) and not only read them, but de»- 
cant and enlarge upon them in our minds, still giving 
liberty to our own thoughts to expatiate, as they are able-i 
but borrowing help from what we read, to reduce them 
when they wander, refresh them when they tire, and to 
furnish them with matter when they are barren. In the 
choice of helps for this work, wbdom and experience are 
profitable to direct, and no rule can be given to fit all ca- 
pacities and all cases ; the end may be attained by difi*erent 

It is thought inflamed. — To mediate, is not only to think 
seriously of divine things, but to think of them with con- 
cern and suitable afiection. ** While we are thus musing, 
the fire must burn." When the heart niieditates terror, the 
terrors of the Lord, it must be with a holy fear ; when we con- 
template the beauty of the Lord, his bounty, and his benignity, 
which is better than life, we must do it with a holy complacen- 
cy, solacing ourselves in the Lord our God. The design of 
meditation is to improve our knowledge, and to affect our- 
selves with those things with which we have acquainted 
ourselves, that those impressions of them upon bur souls 
may be deep and durable, and that, by " beholding the 
glory of the Lord, we may be changed into the same ini- 


Serioiis meditation before a sacrament will be of great 
use to us, to make those things familiar to us, with which 
in that ordinance we are to be conversant ; that good 
thoughts may not be to seek when we are there, it is our 
wisdom to prepare them, and lay them ready before hand. 
Frequent acts confirm a habit, and pious dispositions are 
greatly helped by pious meditations. Christian graces will 
be the better exercised in the ordinance when they are 
thus trained and disiplined, and drawn out in our prepara- 
tion for it. 

For our assistance herein, I shall mention some few of 
those things which may most properly be pitched upon for 
the subject of our meditations before a sacrament : I say, 
before a sacrament ; because though this be calculated 
here for the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, yet it may 
equally serve us in our preparations for the other sacra- 
ment, both that we may profit by the public administration 
of it, and especially that we may, in an acceptable manner, 
present our children to it ; for which service we have as 
much need carefully to prepare ourselves as for this. As 
we must in faith join ourselves to the Lord, so we must in 
faith dedicate ourselves to him. 

That our hearts, then, may be raised and quickened, 
and prepared for communion with Christ at his table. 

1. Let us set ourselves to think of the sinfulness and 
misery of man's fallen state. That we may be taught to 
value our recovery and restoration by the grace of the se- 
cond Adam, let us take a full and distinct view of our ruin 
by the sin of the first Adam. Come and see what desola- 
tions it hath made upon the earth, and how it hath turned 
the world into a wilderness. " How is the gold become 
dim, and the most fine gold changed !" . What wretched 
work did sin make ! What a black and horrid train of 
fatal consequences attended its entrance into the world ! 

Come, my soul, and see how the nature of man is cor- 
ruptfid and vitiated, and lamentably degenerated fi-om its 
primitive purity and rectitude. God's image defaced and 
lost, and Satan's image stamped instead of it. The under- 
standing blind, and unapt to admit the rays of the divine 
light ; the will Ftuhborn, and unapt to comply with the dic- 
tates of the divine law ; the affections carnal, and unapt to 


receive the impressions of the divine love. Come, my 
soul, and lament the change, for thou thyself feelest from 
it, and sharest in the sad effects of it; for a nature thus 
tainted, thus depraved, I brought into the world with me, 
and carry about with me to this day sad remainders of its 
corruption. It was a nature by creation, little lower than 
that of angels, but become by sin, much baser than that of 
brutes. It was like the Nazarites, " purer than snow, 
whiter than milk, more ruddy than the rubies, and its po- 
lishing was of sapphires ; but now its visage is blacker tham 
a coal." Never was beauty so deformed, never was strength 
so weakened, never was a healthful constitution so spoiled^ 
never was honour so laid in the dust. How is the faithful 
city become an harlot 1 Man's nature was planted a choice 
vine, wholly a right seed ; but alas it is become ** the de- 
generate plant of a strange vine.'' I find it in myself bj 
said experience. I am naturally prone to that which is 
evil, and backward to that which is good. Foolishness is 
daily breaking out in my life, and by that I perceive, it is 
bound up in my heart : for these things I tremble and am 
afraid ; "for these things I weep, mine eye, mine eye 
runs down with tears." 

Come, my soul, and see how miserably fallen man is ; 
see him excluded from God's favour, expelled the garden of 
the Lord, and forbidden to meddle with the tree of life ; 
see how odious he is become to God's holiness, and obnox- 
ious to his justice, and by nature a child of wrath. See 
how calamitous the state of human life is ; with what troops 
of diseases, disasters, and deaths, in the most horrid and 
frightful shapes, man is compassed about Lord, '^ how 
are they increased that trouble him !" 

See him attacked on every side by the malignant powera 
of darkness that seek to destroy : see him sentenced for 
sin to utter darkness, to the devouring fire, to the everlast- 
ing burning. " How art thou fallen, O Lucifer, son of 
the morning !" O what a gulph of misery is man sunk 
into by sin ! Separated^from all good to all evil ; and his 
condition in himself helpless and hopeless. A deplorable 
case ! And it is my case by nature ; I am of this guilty, 
exposed, condemned race ; undone, undone for ever ; as 
miserable as the curse of heaven^ and the flames of hell 


«aii make me, if infinite mercy do not interpose. And 
shall not this affect me? Shall not this afflict me ? Shall not 
jthese thoughts beget in me a hatred of sin^ that evil^ thai 
only e?il ? Shall I e?er be reconciled to that which hath 
done so much mischief I Shall I not be quickened hereby 
to flee to Chriaty in whom alone help and salvation is to 
be had ? Is this thy condition^O my soul, thine by nature 1 
And is there a door of hope opened thee by grace. 
** Up, then, get thee out of this Sodom, escape kt thy life, 
look not behind thee, stay not in all the plain, escape to- 
the mountain/' the mountain of holiness, kst thou be con^ 

2. Let us set ourselves to think of " the glory of the di- 
vine attributes, shining forth in- the work of our redemption 
and salvation." Here is a bright and noble subject, the 
eontemj^ation and wonder of angels and blesscMi spirits 
above, and in the admiring view of which, eternity itself 
will be sh(N^ enough to be spent. 

Come then, O my soul, come and think of the kindness 
and love of God our Saviour, his good will to man, which 
designed our redemption, the spring and first wheel of that 
work of wonder. Herein is love. Though God was happy 
irom eternity before man had a being, and would have been 
bappy to eternity, if man had never been, or had been mis- 
erable ; though man's nature was mean and despicable ; 
though his crimes were heinous and detestable ; though by 
his disobedience he had forfeited the protection of a prince ; 
though by his ingratitude he had forfeited the kindness 
of a friend ; and though by his periidiousness he had for* 
feited the benefits of a covenant ; yet the tender mercies 
of our God moved for his relie£ Come and see a, world of 
apostate angels passed by, and left to perish, no Redeemer, 
BO Saviour {H'ovided for them ; but fallen men pitied and 
helped, though angels had been more honourable, and 
would have been more serviceable. 

Come and think of God's patience and fcu'bearance ei^ 
ercised towards man : " the long-sufifering of our Lord is 
salvation." Think how much he bears, and how long^ 
with the world, with me, though most provoking. This 
patience lefl room for the salvation, and gives hopes of it 
'' If the Lord had been pleased to kill us, he wwild havf 
done it before now. 


Gome, and think especially of the wisdom of God which 
is so gloriously displayed in the contriyance of the work of 
our redemption. Here is the wisdom of Grod ■' in a mys- 
tery, even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before 
the world for our glory." Think of the measures Qod 
hath taken, the means he hath devised, that the banished 
might not forever be expelled firom him. Think with won- 
der how all the divine attributes are by the method pitched 
upon, secured from danger and reproach, so that one is not 
jrlorified by the diminution of the lustre of another. When 
sin bad brought things to that strait, that one would think 
either God's justice, truth, and holiness, must be eclipsed 
or clouded, or man's happiness must be ever lost ; infinite 
wisdom finds out an expedient for the securing both of 
Crod's honour, and of man's happiness. It is now no dis- 
paragement at all to God's justice to pardon sin, nor to hid 
lioliness to be reconciled to sinners ; for, by the death of 
Christ, justice is satisfied, and by the spirit of Christ,, sin- 
ners are sanctified. '* Mercy and truth here met toge- 
ther, behold righteousness and peace kiss each other." Be 
astonished, O heavens, at this, and wonder, O earth. And 
thou my soul, that owest all' thy joys, and all thy hopes to 
this contrivance, despairing to find the bottom of this un- 
fathomable fountain of life, sit down at the brink and 
adore the depth ! ** O the depth of the wisdom and know^ 
ledge of God !" 

3. Let us set ourselves to think^ofthe '^ person of the 
Redeemer, and his glorious undertaking of the work of 
our salvation." Come, my soul, and think of Christ, who 
thought of thee ; think of him as the eternal Son of God, 
" the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express im- 
age of his person," who lay in his bosom from aU eternity, 
and had an infinite joy and glory with him before the worl^ 
were, and in whom dwells air the fulness of the Godhead ; 
the eternal wisdom, the eternal wocd, that katih life in him- 
self, and is one with the Father, and who thought it no 
Kobbery to be equal with God. He is thy Loffd, O my soul, 
and worship thou him. 

Think of him as the former of all things, without whom 
was not any thing made that was made. ** Thrones and 
dominions, principalities and powers, all things were ere- 


ated by him, and for him, and he is before all things, and 
by him all things consist." Let this engage my venera- 
tion for him, let this encourage my faith and hope in him« 
If I have my being from him, I must consecrate my being 
to him, and may expect my bliss in him. 

Think of him as Immanuel, the word incarnate, *' God 
manifested in the flesh," clothed with our nature, taking 
part of flesh and blood, that for us in our nature he might 
satisfy the justice of God whom we had offended, and break 
the {{ower of Satan, by whom we are enslaved. Come, my 
soul, and with an eye of faith, behold the beauties, the 
transcendant, unparalleled beauties, of the Redeemer. See 
him, " white and ruddy, fairer than the children of men,'' 
perfectly pure and spotless, wise and holy, kind and good ; 
that he hath the infinite mercies of a Grod, and withal, the 
experimental compassions of a man, that hath been 
'' touched with the feeling of our infirmities." See him by 
faith, as John saw him in a vision. See him and admire 
him, as one that in all things hath the preeminence ; none 
like him, or any to be compared with him. 

Think of him as the undertaker of our redemption, the 
redemption of the soul, which was so precious, that other- 
wise it must have ceased for ever. When the sealed book 
of God's counsels concerning man's redemption was pro- 
duced, *^ none in heaven or earth was found worthy to open 
that book, pr to look thereon." When sacrifice and offer- 
ing for sin would not do, and the blood of bulls and of 
goats had been tried in vain, and found ineffectual, then 
said he, '' Lo I come ; this ruin shall be under my hands ;" 
alluding to Isa. iii. 6. Come, my soul, and see helpJaid 
upon one that is mighty ; one chosen out of the people, and 
every way qualified for the undertaking, able to do the 
Redeemer's work, and fit to wear the Redeemer's crown. 
See how willingly he offered himself to the service, how 
cheerfully he obliged himself to go through with it, and 
engaged his heart to approach unto God as our advocate. 
It is " the voice of thy beloved, O my soul ; behold he 
Cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the 
kills, making nothing of the difficulties that lay in his way. 
Behold, the king cometh, thy bridegroom cometh ; go forth 


my soul, go forth to meet him with thy joyful hosannas, and 
bid him welcbme. Blessed is he that cometh in the name 
of the Lord." 

4. Let us set ourselves to think of the " cross of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, the dishonours done to him, and the 
honours done to us by it." Here is a wide field for our 
meditations to expatiate in, nor can we determine to know 
any thing before a sacrament more proper and profitable 
than Jesus Christ, and him crucified ; lifi;ed up from the 
earth, and drawing all men unto him, as the attractive load- 
stone of their hearts, and the common centre of their unity. 
Come then, and behold the man ; represent to thyself, O 
my soul, not to thy fancy, but to thy faith, " the Lamb of 
God taking away the sins of the world by the sacrifice of 

Come and look over the particulars of Christ's sufferings, 
all the humiliations and mortifications of his life, but espe- 
cially the pains, agonies, and ignominies of his death. Re- 
view the story ; thou wilt still find something in it surpri- 
sing and very affecting ; take notice of all the circumstarl- 
ces of his passion, and say, " never was any sorrow like 
unto his sorrow." Take notice especially of the disgrace 
and reproach done him in his sufferings, the shame he was 
industriously loaded with. This contributed greatly to the 
satisfaction made by his sufferings. God hath been inju- 
red in his glory by sin, and no other way could be injured ; 
he therefore, who undertook to make reparation for that 
injury, not only denied himself in, and divested himself of 
the honours due to an incarnate Deity, but, though most 
innocent and most excellent, voluntarily submitted to the 
utmost disgraces that could be done to the worst of crimi- 
nals : thus he " restored that which he took not away." 
See him, my soul, see him enduring the cross, and despi- 
sing the shame. 

Come and see the purchases of the cross. The blood 
there shed is the ransom with which we are redeemed from 
hell ; the prize with which heaven is bought for us ; see it 
a prize of inestimable value. "The topaz of Ethiopia 
cannot equal it, nor shall it be valued with the gold of 
Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire." No, my 
soiil, thou wast not redeemed with such corruptible things. 


The pardon of sin, the favoar of (jod, the graces of his 
Spirit, the blessings of the covenant, and eternal life, could 
not be purchased with silver and gold, but are dearly bought 
and paid for with the precious blood of the Son of God. 
All the praise be to the glorious purchaser. 

Come and see the victories of the cross ; see the Lord 
Jesus even then a conqueror, when he seemed a captive ; 
then ^)oi]ing principalities and powers, when he seemed 
totally defeated and routed by them. See Christ upon the 
cross, breaking the serpent's head, disanhing Satan, tri- 
umphing over death and the grave, leading captivity cap- 
tive, and going forth in that chariot of war, conquering and 
to conquer. 

Think, my soul, think what thou owest to the dying of 
the Lord Jesus ; the privileges of thy way and the glories 
of thy home ; all thou hast, fJI thou hc^est for that is val- 
uable, they are all precious fruits gathered from this tree 
of life. Christ's wounds are thy healing, his agonies thy 
repose, his conflicts thy conquests, his groans thy songs, 
his pains thine ease, his shame thy glory, his death thy 
life, his sufierings thy salvation. 

5. Let us set ourselves to think of the present glories of 
the exalted Redeemer. When we meditate on the cross 
he bore, we must not forget the crown he wears within th^ 
Tail. Think, my soul, think where he is at the right hand 
of the Father, far above all principalities and powers, and 
every name that is named ; he is set down upon the throne 
of the Majesty in the highest heavens. Having obtained 
eternal redemption for us, he is " entered with his own 
blood into the holy place." Think how he is attended 
there with an innumerable company of angels that contin- 
ually surround the throne of God and of the Lamb ; think 
of the songs there sung to his praise, the crowns there cast 
at his feet, and the name he hath there above every name. 
Think especially what he is doing there : he always ap- 
pears in the presence of God as the great High Priest of 
our profession, to intercede for all these that come to Grod 
by him ; and he attends continually to this very thing ; 
there he is preparing a place for all his followers, and 
thence he will shortly come to receive them to himself, to 
behold his glory, and to share in it. Pwell on these 


thoughts, O my soul, and say as they dM who saw his glo- 
ry in his transfiguration. It is good to be here ; here ]et 
us make tabernacles, let these thoughts kindle in thee an 
earnest desire (shall I call it a holy curiosity J to see him 
as he is face to face. His advancement is thine advantage, 
as the forerunner he is for me entered ; let the contempla- 
tion of the joy he is entered into, and the power he is there 
girded with, have such an influence upon me, as that by 
faith I may be raised up likewise, and ^* made to sit togeth- 
er with him in heavenly places." 

6. Let us set ourselves to think of the unsearchable 
riches of the new covenant, made with us in Jesus Christ, 
and sealed to us in the sacraments. Peruse this covenant 
in the several dispensations of it, from the dawning of its 
day in the first promise, to that of noon-day light, which 
life and immortality are brought to by the gospel. Read 
over the several articles of it, and see how well ordered it 
is in all things, so well that it could not be better. Re- 
view its promises, which are precious and many, very ma- 
ny, very precious, and sure to all the seed. Search into 
the hidden wealth that is treasured up in them ; dig into 
these mines ; content not thyself with a transient view of 
these fountains of living water, but bring thy bucket, and 
draw with joy out of these wells of salvation. ** Go walk 
about this Zion, this city of God, tell the towers, mark well 
the bulwarks, consider the palaces, and say. This God, 
who is our God in covenant, is ours for ever and ever ; he 
will be our guide even unto death." 

Stir up thyself, therefore, O my soul ! to meditate on the 
firivileges of a justified state ; the liberties and immunities, 
the dignities and advantages that are conveyed by the char* 
ter of pardon. O the blessedness of the man whose ini- 
f|uities are forgiven ! See him secured from the arrests of 
the law, the curse of God, the evil of affliction, the sting of 
death, and the damnation of hell. Read with pleasure the 
triumphs of blessed Paul (Rom. viii. 93, d&c.) Happy 
thou art, my soul, and all is well with thee, or shall be 
shortly, if thy sins be pardoned. 

Meditate on the honours and comforts of a state of 
grace. If now I am a child of God, adopted and regene* 
rated, and have received the Spirit of adoption, I Ittve a 


sanctified use of ray creature comforts, my fellowship is 
with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ ; " all is 
mine, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, 
or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all 
are mine.'' 1 have meat to eat that the world knows not 
of, joy that a stranger doth not intermeddle with. — Let 
thoughts of these great privileges work in thee, O my soul ! 
a holy disdain of the pleasures of sense, and the profits of 
the world ; whenever they come in competition with the 
gains of godliness, and the delights of spiritual life, offer 
those to them that know no better. 

7. Let us set ourselves to think of the communion of 
saints. This contributes something to our comfort in com« 
munion with Christ, that through him, we have fellowship 
one with another. " So that we being many, are one brbad 
and one body ; for Christ died to gather together in one the 
children of God that were scattered abroad ;" that ail migh 
be one in him in whom we all meet, as many members in one 
head, so making one body ; many branches in one root, so 
making one vine ; and many stones on one foundation, so 
making one building. 

Enlarge thy thoughts, then, O my soul ! and let it be a 
pleasure to thee to think of the relation thou standest in to 
the whole family, both in heaven and earth, which is nam- 
ed of Jesus Christ ; to think that thou art come, in faith, 
hope, and love, even to the ** innumerable company of an- 
gels, and to the spirits of just men made perfect." Even 
these are thy brethren and fellow-servants. Rejoice in 
thine alliance to them, in their affection to the%, and in 
the prospect thou heist of being with them shortly, of being 
with them eternally. Here we sit down with a liftle kan£ 
ful of weak and imperfect saints, and those mixed with 
pretenders ; but we hope shortly to have a place and a 
name in the general assembly of the first-born, and to " sit 
down with Abraham, -Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom 
of our Father," with all the saints, and none but saints^ 
and saints made perfect, and so to be together for ever 
with the Lord. 

Please thyself also, O my soul I with thinking of the 
spiritual communion thou hast in the acts of Christian pi- 
ety, and in the exercise of Christian charity, with ** all thai 


in every place on this earth call on the name of Jesuit 
Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours." Some good Chris- 
tians there are, that fall within the reach of our personal 
communion, to whom we give the right hand of fellowship. 
Others, within the line of our acquaintance and corres- 
pondence ; and many more whom we know not, nor have 
ever heard of, pever saw, nor are ever likely to see in this 
world ; but ail these are our " companions in the kingdom 
and patience oi Jesus Christ." They and we are guided 
by the same rule, animated by the same spirit, conformed 
to the same image, interested in the same promises, and 
joined to the same great body ; they and we meet daily at 
the same throne of grace, under the conduct of the Spirit 
of adoption, which teaches us all to cry, Abba, Father ; 
and they and we hope to meet shortly at the same throne 
of glory, under the conduct of the same Jesus, who will 
gather his elect from the four winds, and present them all 
together unto the Father. Christ hath prayed, that " all 
that believe may be one ;" and therefore we are sure they 
are so, for the Father heard him always. Let this subject 
yield us some delightful thoughts here in a scattered world, 
and a divided church. 

8. Let us set ourselves to think of the happiness of hea- 
ven. A pleasant theme this is, very improvable, and per- 
tinent enough to an ordinance which hath so much of hea- 
ven in it. If indeed we have heaven in our eye, as our 
home and rest, and our conversation there, we cannot but 
have it much upon our hearts. Have we good hope through 
grace, of being shortly with Christ in the heavenly para- 
dise, where there is fulness of joy and pleasures for ever- 
more, — where we shall see God's glory, and enjoy his love 
immediately, to our complete and eternal satisfaction? 
Do we expect that yet a little while, the vail shall be rent, 
the shadows of the evening shall be done away, and we 
shall see as we are seen, and know as we are known? Are 
we in prospect of a crown of glory that fades not away, an 
incorruptible, undeiiled inheritance ? 

Raise thy thoughts, then, O my soul ! . to the joyful con- 
templation of thy glory to be revealed. Arise, then, and 
survey this land of promise, as Abraham. Go with Moses 
to the top of Piifgab. and take a view of it by faith. Get 


a Scripture tnap of that CanaaD, and study it well. Think, 
my sou], what they see in that world, who always behold 
the face of our Father, and in it see all truth and bright- 
ness, and the perfection of beauty. Think what they have 
there, that eat of the tree of life, and the hidden manna ; 
whose faculties are enlarged, to take in the full communi- 
cation of divine love and grace, and who have God him* 
self with them as their God. Think what they are doing 
there who dwell in God's house, and are still praising him, 
and rest not day nor night from doing it Think of the 
good company that is there, thousands of thousands of 
blessed angels, and holy souls, with whom we shall have an 
intimate and undisturbed converse in perfect light and 

Compare the present state thou art in, my soul, with that 
thou hopest for ; and let it be a pleasure to thee to think, 
that whatever is here, thy grief and burden shall be there 
i:emoved and done away for ever. Satan's temptations 
shall there no more assault thee ; thine own corruptions 
§hall there no more insnare thee j the guilt of sin, and 
doubts about thy spiritual state, shall there no more terrify 
and perplex thee ; no pain, nor sickness, nor sorrow, shall 
be an alloy to the enjoyments of that world, as they are to 
those of this world. All tears shall there be wiped away, 
even those for sin. 

On the other side, whatever is here thy delight and plea- 
sure, shall there be perfected. The knowledge of God, 
joy m him, and communion with him, are here, as it were, 
thy running banquets ; there, they shall be thy continual 
feast. The work of grace begun in thee, is that which 
reconciles thee to thyself, and gives thee some pleasure 
now in thy reflections upon thyself. This work shall be 
there completed, and the finishing strokes given to it, by 
the same skilful and happy hand that begun it. 

Come now, my soul, and "neglect not the gift that is in 
thee, hut meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to 
them." Be thou in them, as in thy business, as in thine ele- 
ment. Think of the things of the invisible and unchangeable 
world, till thou findest thyself so affected with them, as even 
to forget the things that are here below, that are here behind, 
tfnd look upon them with a holy negligence, that thott 


mayest, with great diligence, reach towards '' the things 
thai are before, and press towards the mark for the high 

II. We must not only meditate, but we must pray, and 
cry earnestly to God for assistance and acceptance in what 
we do. When the apostle had reckoned up all the parts 
of the Christian's armour, he concludes with this, "pray- 
ing always." Prayer must gird on the whole armour of 
God ; for, without prayer, all our endeavours are vain and 
ineffectual. Therefore, in our preparations for the Lord's 
Supper, time must be spent, and pains taken in prayer, for 
two reasons : 

1 . Because this is a proper means of quickening ourselves, 
and stirring up our graces. One duty of religion is of use 
to dispose and fit us for another ; and the most solemn 
services ought to be approached gradually, and through the 
enter courts. In prayer, the soul ascends to God, and 
converseth with him ; and thereby the mind is prepared to 
receive the visits of his grace, and habituated to holy exer* 
cises. Even the blessed .Jesus prepared himself for the 
offering up of the great sacrifice by prayer, a long prayer 
in the house, and strong cryings, with tears, in the garden. 
Three times was Christ spoken to, while he was here on 
earth, by voices firom heaven, and they all three found him 
praying. — ^That at his baptism: "Jesus being baptized^ 
and praying, the heaven was opened." — That at his trans- 
figuration : " As he prayed, the fashion of his countenance 
was altered." — ^And at a little before his passion, when he 
was praying, " Father, glorify thy name," the voice came 
from heaven, " I have glorified it," &c. Saul of Tarsus 
prays, and then sees a vision ; and afterwards, Cornelius 
had his vision when he was at prayer, and Peter his. All 
which instances, and many the like, suggest to us, that 
communion with God in prayer prepares and disposes the 
mind for communion with him in other duties. 

2. Because this is the appointed way for fetching in that 
mercy and grace which God hath promised, and which we 
stand in need of. In God is our help, and from him is our 
fruit found ; and he hath promised to help us and to give us 
" a new heart, to put his Spirit within us, and to cause us, 
to walk in his statutes." " I will yet for all this be inquired 


ef bj the house of Israel to do it for them." How can we 
expect the presence of God with us, if we do not invite 
him by prayer ? Or the power of God upon us, if we do 
not by prayer derive it from him ? The greatest blessings 
are promised to the prayer of faith, but God will not give 
if we will not ask : why should he ? 

But what must we pray for, when we draw near to God 
in this solemn ordinance ? Solomon tells us, that both the 
"preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the 
tongue is from the Lord." To him, therefore, we must 
apply ourselves for both. The whole word of God is of 
use to direct us in these prayers, and in it the blessed 
Spirit " helpeth our infirmities, forasmuch as we know not 
what to pray for," in this or in any othef case, as we ought. 

1st, We must pray that we may be prepared for this 
solemnity before it comes. Whatever is necessary to 
qualify us for communion with God in it, is spoken of in 
Scripture as God's gift; and whatever is the matter of 
God's promise, must be the matter of our prayers; for 
promises are given, not only to be the ground of our hope, 
but also to be the guide of our desire in prayer. Is know- 
ledge necessary ? " Out of his mouth cometh knowledge 
and understanding," and at wisdom's gates we must wait 
for wisdom's gifts, rejoicing herein " that the Son of God 
is come, and hath given us an understanding." Is faith 
necessary? That is not "of ourselves, it is the gift of 
God." Him, therefore, we must attend, who is both the 
author and the finisher of our faith. To him we must 
pray. Lord, increase our faith : Lord, perfect what is lack- 
ing in it : Lord, fulfil the work of faith with power. Is 
love necessary 1 It is the " Holy Ghost that sheds abroad 
that love in our hearts, and circumciseth our hearts to love 
the Lord our God." To that heavenly fire we must there- 
fore go for this holy spark, and pray for the breath of the 
Almighty to blow it up into a flame. Is repentance neces- 
sary ? It is God that gives repentance, that takes away 
the stony heart, and gives a heart of flesh ; and we must 
beg of him to work that blessed change in us. " Behold 
the fire and the wood," the ordinance instituted, and all 
needful provision made for our sacrifice, " but where is the 
Iamb for a burnt-offering ?" Where is the heart to be o^ 


fered up to God? If God did not provide himself a lamb, 
the solemnity would fail. To him therefore we must go 
to buy such things as we have need of against the feast, 
that is, to beg them ; for we buy without money and with- 
out price, and such buyers shall not be driven out of God's 
temple, nor slighted there, however they are looked on in 
men's markets. 

2d, Pray that our hearts may be enlarged in the duty. 
It is the gracious promise of God, that he will open rivers 
in the wilderness, and streams in the desert, and the joint 
experience of all the saints that they looked unto him and 
were lightened ; such out-goings of soul therefore towards 
God, as may receive, the incomes of divine strength and 
comfort, we should earnestly desire and pray for. Pray 
that God would grace his own institutions with such mani- 
fest tokens of his presence as these two disciples had, who 
reasoned thus for their own conviction, that they had been 
with Jesus, "Did not our hearts burn within us?" Pray 
that, by the grace of God, the business of the ordinance 
may be faithfully done ; the work of the day, the sacrament 
day, in its day, according as the duty of the day requires, 
(Ezra iii. 4.) Pray that the ends of the ordinance may be 
sincerely aimed at and happily attained, and the great in* 
tentions of the institution of it answered ; that you may not 
receive the grace of God therein in vain. O that my heart 
may be engaged to approach unto God ! So engaged as 
that nothing may prevail to disengage it! — Come, blessed 
Spirit, and breathe upon these dry bones ! Move upon the 
waters of the ordinances, and produce a new creation! 
^* Awake, O north wind ; and come thou south ; and blow 
tipon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow forth. 
And then let my beloved come into his garden" (his it is, 
and then it will be lit to be called his,) " and eat his plea* 
Bant fruits." 

8d, Pray that we may be favourably accepted of God, 
both in the preparation and in the performance. In vain 
do we worship, if God do not accept us. The applause of 
men is but a poor reward (such as the hypocrites were con- 
tent with, and put off with) if we come short of the favour 
of God. Herein therefore we should labour, this we should 
be ambitious of as ottr highest honour, the top of our pre^ 


ferment, ^ that whether present or absent we may be tc-. 
cepted of the Lord." About this therefore we should be 
Tery solicitous in our inquiries, " Wherewithal shall I come 
before the Lord," so as to please him ? For this we should 
be very importunate in our prayers, '^ O that I knew where 
I might find him !" O that I might be met at the table of 
the Lord with a blessing, and not with a breach I O that 
God would smile upon me there, and bid me welcome ! O 
that the beloved of my soul would show me some token for 
good there, and say unto me, I am thy salvation ! *^ Son, 
daughter, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee. 
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, for his love 
is better than wine." O that it might be a communion 
indeed between Christ and my soul ! That which is in 
YOgne with the most of men is, " Who will show us any 
good V But when I am admitted to touch the top of the 
golden sceptre, this is my petition, this is my request. Lord 
lift up the light of thy countenance upon me, and that shall 
put true gladness into my heart, greater than the joy of 

4th, Pray that what is amiss may be pardoned in the 
blood of Christ. This prayer good Hezekiah hath put in-- 
to our mouths, God put it into our hearts. '* The good 
Lord pardon every one that prepareth his heart in sincerity 
to seek the Lord God of his fathers, and aims honestly,, 
though h^ be not cleansed according to the purification of 
the sanctuary." We cannot but be conscious to ourselves^ 
that in many things we come short of our duty, and wan- 
der from it. The rule is strict, it is fit it should be so, and 
yet no particular rule more strict than that general and fim- 
damental law of God's kingdom, ** Thou shdt love the Lord 
thy God with all thy heart, and soul, and mind, and might.'* 
But our own hearts know, and God, who is greater than 
our hearts, and knows all things, knows that we do not 
come up to the rule, nor " continue in all things that are 
written in the book of the law to do them." By our defi- 
ciences we become obnoxious to the curse, and should per- 
ish by it if we were under the law ; but we are encouraged 
by a penitent believing* prayer to sue out our pardon, liaT- 
ing an advocate with the Father. 

Would we take with us words in these prayers? Dand*!^ 


{>salins und St Paul's epistles will furnish us with a great 
variety of acceptable words ; words which the Holy Ghost 
teacheth ; and other helps of devotion which, thanks be to 
God, we have plenty which may be used to much advan* 
tage : and if in these prayers we stir up ourselves to take 
hold on God, our experience shall be added to that of thou* 
sands, that Jacob's God never said to Jacob's seed, ** Seek 
ye me in vain." 




To make up the wedding garment, which is proper f<x 
this wedding feast, it is requisite, not only that we' have an 
habitual temper of mind agreeable to the gospel, but that 
we have such an actual disposition of spirit, as is consonant 
to the nature and intentions of the ordinance. It is an ex- 
cellent rule in the Scripture directory of religious worship, 
*' Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God,'' that 
is, " Keep thy heart with all diligence." Look well to the 
motions of thy soul, and observe the steps it takes. When 
we are to see the goings of our God, our King in the sanc- 
tuary, it concerns us to see our own goings : " keep thy 
foot," that is, do nothing rashly ; but, ^* when thou goest 
to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee." 
It was not enough for the priests under the law that they 
were washed and dressed in their priestly garments when 
they were first consecrated, but they must be carefully 
washed and dressed every time they went in to minister, 
else they went in at their peril. We are spiritual priests 
to our God, and must do the office of our priesthood with 
a due decorum, remembering that this is that which the 
Lord hath said, (God by his grace speak it home to our 
hearts !) ''I will be sanctified in them that come nigh 
me ;" that is, I will be attended as a holy God in ja holy 
manner, *' and so before all the people I will be glorified." 
We then sanctify God in holy duties, when we sanctify 
ourselves in our approaches to them; that is, when we 
separate ourselves firom every thing that is commoq or un- 
clean, *' from all filthiness both of flesh and spirit," and 
consecrate ourselves to God's glory as our end, and to his 
aervice as our business. If we would have the ordinance 
sanctified to us, for our comfort and benefit, we must thus 
sanctify ourselves for it Joshua's command to the people, 
when Uiey were to follow the ark of the covenant through 


Jordan, should be still sounding in our ears the night be^ 
fore a sacrament : " Sanctify yourselves, for to-morrow the 
Lord will do wonders among you." When the God of glo- 
ry admits such worms, such a generation of vipers as we 
are, into covenant and communion with himself ; when he 
gives gifts, such gifts, to the rebellious ; when by the pow- 
er of his grace he sanctifies the sinful, and comforts the 
sorrowful, and gives such holiness and joy as his life from 
the dead, — surely then he does wonders among us. That 
we may see these wonders done, and share in the benefit 
of them, that we may experience them done in our^ouls^ 
** Jordan driven back at the presence of the Lord, at the 
presence of the God of Jacob," to open a passage for us 
into the heavenly Canaan ; let us sanctify ourselves and 
earnestly pray to God to sanctify us. 

For our help herein, the following directions perhaps 
may be of some use : — 

1. Let us address ourselves to this service with a fixed- 
ness of thought. — There is scarcely any instance of the 
corruption of nature, and the moral impotence which we 
are brought under by sin, more complained of by serious 
Christians than the vanity of the thoughts, and the difficul- 
ty of fixing them on that which is good. They are apt to 
wander after a thousand impertinences, it is no easy matter 
to gather them in, and keep them employed as they should 
be ; we all find it so by sad experience. " Vain thoughts 
lodge within us," and are most a hinderance and distur- 
bance to us when good thoughts are invited into the soul, 
and should be entertained there. When, therefore, we ap- 
ply ourselves to a religious service, which will find work 
for all our thoughts, and which presents objects well wor- 
thy of our closest contemplation, we are concerned to take 
pains with ourselves to get ourselves engaged; and to 
•* bring every thought into obedience to the law of this sol- 

This is a time to set aside the thoughts of every thing 
that is foreign and unseasonable; and all those foolish 
speculations which use to be the unprofitable amusement 
of our idle hours, and the sports and pastimes of our carnal 
minds ; away with them all ; clear the court of those va- 
grants, when the doors are to be opened for the King of 
glory to CQ^le in. Are they thoughts that pretend business. 


4Bd are as buyers and sellers in the temple ? Tell then 
you have other business to mind ; bid them depart for this 
lime, and in a more convenient season you will call for 
them. Do they pretend urgent business, as Nehemiah's 
enemies did when they sought to give him a diversion t 
Give them the repulse that he gave, and like him repeat it 
as oil as they rep>eat their solicitations^ " I am doing a 
great work, why should the work cease, while I leave it 
and come down to you V* Do they pretend friendship, and 
fiend in the name of thy mother and thy brethren standing 
without to speak with thee ? Yet dismiss them as Christ 
did, by giving the preference to better friends. Let not 
thoughts of those we love best, divert us from thinking of 
Christ, whom we know we must love better. 

This is a time to summon the attendance of all the 
thoughts, and keep them close to the business we are go- 
ing about. Suffer none to wander, none to trifle ; for here 
is employment, good employment for them all, and all little 
enough. Though a perfect fixation of thought without any 
distractions during the solemnity, is what I believe none 
ean attain to in this state of imperfection ; yet it is what 
we should desire and aim at, and come to as near as we 
can. Let us charge our thoughts not to wander, keep ft 
watchful eye upon them, and call them back when they be- 
gin to rove, keep them in full employment about that which 
is proper and pertinent, which will prevent the starting 
aside to that which is otherwise ; come, " bind the sacri- 
iice with cords to the horns of the altar," that it may not 
be to seek when it should be sacrificed. Be able to say 
through grace, ** O God, my heart is fixed ;" though un- 
fixed at other times, yet fixed now. Look up to God for 
grace to establish the heart and keep it steady : look wifli 
sorrow and shame upon its wanderings : shut the door 
against distractions : watch and pray against the tempta- 
tion : and when those birds of prey come down upon the 
sacrifices, do as Abraham did, " drive them away.". And 
while you sincerely endeavour to keep your hearts fixed, 
be not discouraged ; the vain thoughts that are disallowed, 
striven against, and repented of, though they are our hifl- 
derance, yet they shall not be our ruin." 


-2. Let us address ourselves to this service, with aji 
evenness and calmness of affection, free from the disorders 
and ruffles of passion. A sedate and quiet spirit, not tos- 
sed with the tempests of care and fear, but devolving care 
on God, and silencing fear with faith ; not sinking under 
the load of temporal burdens, but supporting itself with the 
hopes of eternal joys ; easy itself, because submissive to 
its God ; this is the spirit fit to receive and return divine 
visits. They were still waters, on the face of which the 
Spirit moved to produce the world : the Lord was not in 
the wind, " was not in the earthquake." The prince of 
the power of the air raised storms, for ** he loves to fish in 
troubled waters," but the Prince of Peace still storms, and 
quiets the winds and waves ; for he casts his net into a 
calm sea : *' The waters of Shiloah run soiUy, and without 
noise." And that " river, the streams whereof make glad 
the city of our God, is none of those, the waters whereof 
»oar and are troubled." 

Let us, therefore, always study to be quiet, and, however 
we are crossed and disappointed, " let not our hearts be 
troubled, let them not be cast down and disquieted within 
us." Let us not create or aggravate our own vexations, nor 
be put into a disorder by any thing that occurs ; but let 
the peace of God always rule in our hearts, and then 
that peace will keep them. They whose natural temper 
is either fretful or fearful, have the more need to double 
their guard ; and, when any disturbance begins in the 
80u], should give diligence to suppress the tumult with 
all speed, lest the Hdy Spirit be thereby provoked to 
withdraw, and then they will have but uncomfortable sa- 

But especially, let us compose ourselves, when we a]>- 
proach to the table of the Lord. Charge the peace them 
in the name of the King of kings ; command silence wheft 
you expect to hear the voice of joy and gladness ; stop the 
mouth of clamorpus and noisy passions, banish tumultuous 
thoughts, " suffer not those evil spirits to speak," but expel 
them, and let your souls return to God, and repose in him 
aa their rest. Bring not unquiet distempered spirits to a 
transaction which requires the greatest cahnnessand seren* 
ity possible. Let all intemperate hearts be cooled, and the 
thoughts of that which hath made an uproar in the soul be 


banished, and let a strict charge be given to ali about you 
to all within you, " by the roes and the hinds of the field," 
those innocent and pleasant creatures, that they stir not up, 
nor awake your love, nor give any disturbance to your com- 
munion with him. 

3. Let us address ourselves to it with a holy awe and re- 
verence of the Divine Majesty. We ought to be in the fear 
of the Lord every day, and all the day long, for he is our 
strict observer wherever we are, and will be the judge of 
persons and actions, by whose unerring sentence our eter- 
nal state will be decided ; but in a special manner he is 
** greatly to be feared in the assemblies of his saints, and to 
be had in reverence of all them that are about him," and tlie 
nearer ^e approach to him, the more reverent we should 
be. Angels that always behold God's face, see cause to 
cover their own. Even then, when we are admitted to sit 
down at God's table, we must remember that we are wor- 
shipping at his footstool, and therefore must lay ourselves 
very low before him, and " in Jiis fear worship towards his 
holy temple." Let us not rush into the presence of God 
in a careless manner, as if he were a man like ourselves, 
nay, so as we would not approach to a prince or a great 
man, but observe a decorum, ^* giving to him the glory due 
unto his name," and taking to ourselves the shame due to 
ours. If he be a master where is his fear ? We do not 
worship God acceptably, if we do not worship him " with 
reverence and godly fear." 

] St, We must worship him with reverence as a glorious 
God, a God of infinite perfection and almighty power, who 
" covers himself with light as with a garment," and yet, as 
to us, makes darkness his pavilion. Dare we profane the 
temples of the Holy Ghost, by outward indecencies of car- 
riage and behaviour, the manifest indications of a vain and 
regardless mind ? Dare we allow of low and common 
thoughts of that God who is over all, blessed for evermore T 
See him, my soul, see him by faith upon a throne, high 
and lifted up ; not only upon a throne of grace, which en- 
courages thee to come with boldness, but upon a throne of 
glory and a throne of government, which obliges thee to 
oome with caution. Remember that *' God is in heaven, 
and thou art upon earth ; and therefore let thj words be 


few 'y* " Be still and know that he is God/' that he is great, 
and keep thy distance. Let an awful regard to the glories 
of the eternal God, and the exalted Redeemer, make thee 
humhle and serious, very serious, very humhle in thine ap- 
proach to this ordinance, and keep thee so daring the so- 

2d, We must also worship him with godly fear, as a holy 
God, a God whose name is jealous, and who '' is a consu- 
ming fire." We have reason to fear before him, for we 
have offended him, and have made ourselves obnoxious to 
his wrath and curse ; and we are but upon our good beha- 
viour, as probationers for his favour. He is not a God that 
will be mocked, that will be trifled with ; if we think to 
put a cheat upon him, we shall prove in the end to have 
put the most dangerous cheat upon our own souls. In this 
act of religion, therefore, a^ well as in others, we *^ must 
work out our salvation with fear and trembling." 

4^ Let us come to this ordinance with a holy jealousy 
over ourselves, and a humble sense of our own unworthi- 
ness. We must sit before the Lord in such a frame as 
David composed himself into, when he said, '' Who am I, 
O Lord God, and what is my father's house, that thou hast 
brought me hitherto?" Nothing prepareth the soul more 
lor spiritual comforts than humility. 

1st, It may be, we have reason to suspect ourselves lest 
we come unworthily. Though we must not cherish such 
suspicions of our state as will damp our joy in God, and 
discourage our hope in Christ, and fill us with amazement ; 
iKHT such as will take off our chariot wheels, and keep us 
standing when we should be going forward ; yet we must 
maintain such a jealousy over ourselves, as will keep us 
humble, and take us off from all self-conceit, and self-con* 
fidence ; such a jealousy of ourselves, as will keep us watch- 
ful, and save us from sinking into carnal security. And 
now is a proper time to think how many there are that eat 
bread with Christ, and yet lift up the heel against him : the 
haad of him that betrayeth him perhaps is with him upon 
the table ; which should put us upon asking, as the disci- 
ples did, just before the first sacrament, '' Lord, is it I ?" 
Many that eat and drink in Christ's presence, will be re- 
j^ted and disowned by him in the great day. . Have I not 


some reason to fear lest that be my doom at last "? To fear, 
lest a promise being left me of entering into rest, I should 
seem to come short ? To fear, lest, when the King comes 
to see the guests he find me without a wedding-garment. 
Be not too confident, O my soul, lest thou deceive thyself: 
" Be not high-minded, but fear." 

2d, However it is certain we have reason to abase our- 
selves ; for at the best we are unworthy to come. If we 
*' are less than the least of God's mercies," how much less 
are we than the greatest, than this, which includes all ? 
We are unworthy of the crumbs that fall fi'om our Master's 
table, much more unworthy of the children's bread, and 
the dainties that are upon the table. Being invited, we 
may hope to be welcome ; but what is there in us that we 
should be invited ? Men invite their friends and acquaint- 
ance to their tables, but we are naturally *^ strangers and 
enemies in our mind by wicked works," and yet are we in- 
vited. Meii invite such as they think will, with their qual- 
ity or merit, grace their tables ; but we are more likely to 
be a reproach to Christ's table, being poor and maimed, 
halt and blind ; and yet are picked up out of the high-ways 
and the hedges. Men invite such as they are under obli-^ 
gations to, or have expectations from ; but Christ is no 
way indebted to us, nor can he be benefited by us ; our 
goodness extends not to him, and yet he invites us. . We 
have much more reason than Mephibosheth had, when he 
was made a constant guest at David's table, to bow our- 
selves, and say, " What is thy servant, that thou shouldest 
look upon such a dead dog as I am ?" They who thus hum- 
, ble themselves shall be exalted. 

5. Yet let us come to this ordinance with a gracious 
confidence, as children to a father, to a father's table ; not 
with any confidence in ourselves, but in Christ only. That 
slavish fear which represents God as a hard master, rigo- 
rous in his demands, and extreme to mark what we do 
amiss ; which straitens our spirits, and subjects \is to bond- 
age and torment, must be put off, and striven against ; and 
we must come boldly to the throne of grace, to the table of 
grace, not as having any thing in ourselves to recommend 
us, but as having a High Priest, who is touched with the 
feeling of our infirmities. As a presumptuous rudeness, is 



a provocation to the master of the feast, so a distrustful 
shyness is displeasing to him ; which looks as if we ques- 
tioned either the sincerity of the invitation, or the sufficien- 
cy of the provision. 

This is the fault of many good Christians ; they come to 
the sacrament rather like prisoners to the bar, than like 
friends and children to the table ; they come trembling and 
astonished, and full of confusion. Their apprehensions ot^ 
the grandeur of the ordinance, and the danger of coming 
unworthily, run into an extreme, and become a hinderance 
to the exercise of faith, hope, and love ; this extreme we 
should carefully watch against, because it tends so much 
to God's dishonour, our own prejudice, and the discourage* 
nient of others. Let us remember we have to do with one 
who is willing to make the best of sincere desires, and seri- 
ous endeavours, though in many things we be defective ; 
and who deals with us in tender mercy, and not in strict 
justice, and who, though he be out of Christ a consuming 
fire, yet in Christ is ,a gracious Father ; let us, " therefore, 
draw near with a true heart, and in full assurance of faith." 
It is related of Titus the emperor, that when a poor peti- 
tioner presented his address to him with a trembling hand, 
he was much displeased, and asked him. Dost thou present 
thy petition to thy prince, as if thou were giving meat to a 
lion ? Chide thyself for these amazing fears : " Why art 
thou cast down, O my soul, and why art thou disquieted 
within me ?" If the Spirit undertake to work all my work a 
in me, as the Sun hath undertaken to work all my works 
for me, both the one and the other shall be done eifectu^ 
ally ; therefore^ " hope thou in God ; for I shall yet praise 

6. Let us come to this ordinance with earnest desire to- 
wards God, and communion with him. It is a feast, a 
spiritual feast ; and we must come to it with an appetite, a 
spiritual appetite ; for the full soul loathes even the honey- 
comb, and slights the offer of it ; but to the hungry soul, 
that is sensible of its own needs, every bitter thing is sweet, 
even the bitterness of repentance, when it is in order to 
peace and pardon. Our desires towards the world and the 
flesh must be checked and moderated, and kept under the 
government of religion and right reason ; for we have teen 


too lon^ spending our money for that which is not breads 
and which is, at the best, unsatisfying ; but our desires to- 
wards Christ must be quickened and stirring. '^ As the 
hart, the hunted hart, panteth after the refreshment of the 
water brook, so earnestly must our souls pant for the living 
God" The invitation is given, and the promise made to 
them only that hunger and thirst ; they are called to come 
to the waters, to come and drink, and it is promised to 
them that they shall be filled. It is necessary, therefore, 
that we work upon our hearts the consideration, of those 
things that are proper to kindle this holy fire, and to blow 
up its sparks into a flame. We are then best prepared to 
receive temporal mercies, when we are most indifferent to 
them, and content, if the will of God be so, to be without 
them. ** Did I desire a son of my Lord V* said the good 
Shunamite. Here the danger is of being too earnest in 
our desires, as Rachel : '^ Give me children, or else I 
die." But we are then best prepared to receive spiritual 
mercies, when we are most importunate for them: here 
the desires cannot be too vehement. In the former case, 
strong desires evidence the prevalency of sense ; but in 
this they evidence the power of faith, both realizing and 
valuing the blessings desired. The devout and pious soul 
" thirsts for God, for the living God, as a thirsty land." It 
longs, ** yea, even faints for the courts of the Lord," and 
for communion with God in them. It " breaks for the 
longing it hath unto God's judgments at all times." Can 
our souls witness to such desires as these ? O that I might 
have a more intimate acquaintance with God and Christ, 
and divine things ! O that I might have the tokens of 
God's favour, and fuller assurances of his distinguishing 
love in Jesus Christ ! O that my covenant interest in him, 
and relation to him, might be cleared up to me, and that 
I might have more of the comfort of it ! O that I might 
partake more of the divine grace ; and, by its effectual 
working on my soul, might be made more conformable to 
the divine will and likeness ; more holy, humble, spiritual, 
heavenly, and more meet for the inheritance ! O that I 
might have the earnest of the Spirit in my heart, sealing 
me to the day of redemption ! 

Thus the desire of our souls must be towards the Lord, 


and towards the remembrance of his name. In this im» 
perfect state, where we^are at home in the body, and absent 
from the Lord, our love to God acts more in holy desires, 
than in holy delights. All those who have the Lord for 
their God, agree to desire nothing more than God, for they 
know they have enough in him ; but yet still they desire 
more and more of God ; for, till they come to heaven, they 
will never have enough of him. Come then, my soul, why 
art thou so cold in thy desires towards those things which 
are designed for thy peculiar satisfaction, distinct from the 
body ? Why so eager for the meat that perisheth, and so 
indifferent to that which endures to everlasting lifet 
Hast thou no desire to that which is so necessary to thy 
support, and without which thou art undone ? No desire 
to that which will contribute so much to thy profit, and 
yield thee inexpressible satisfaction ? Provision is made in 
the Lord's Supper of bread to strengthen thee, will not the 
sense of thine own weakness and emptiness make thee 
hunger afler that ? Canst thou be indifferent to that which 
is the staff of thy life? Provision is made of pleasant fbod« 
fat things full of marrow, and wines on the lees ; art thou 
not desirous of dainties, such dainties ? Was the tree of 
knowledge such a temptation, because it was " pleasant to 
the eye, and a tree to be desired to make one wise," that 
our first parents would break through the hedge of a divine 
command, and venture all that was dear to them to come 
at it? And, shall not the tree of life, which we are not 
only allowed, but commanded to eat of, and the fruit of 
which will nourish us to life eternal ; shall not that appear 
more pleasant in our eyes, and more to be desired ? God, 
^en thine own God, who hath wherewithal to supply all 
thy needs, and hath promised to be to thee a God all-suffi* 
cienft, a God that is enough, — ^he hath said, " Open thy 
riiouth wide, and I will fill it ;'' thou| art not straitened in 
him, be not straitened in thine o#n desires. 

7. Let us come to this ordinance with raised expecta- 
tions.— The same faith that enlargeth the desire, and 
drawJs it out to a holy vehemence, should aisot (Elevate th^ 
hop^, and ripen it to a holy confidence. When we come 
thirsting to these waters, we heed not fear that they will 
prove Ske the brooks in summer, which disappoint tte 

« 150 

weary traveller ; for, '' when it is hot, they are consumed 
out of their place." Such are all the broken cisterns of 
the creature, they perforin not whatthey promise, or rather 
what we ibolishly promise to ourselves from them ; no, but 
these are inexhaustible fountains of living waters, in which 
there is enough for all, though ever so many ; enough Icn: 
each, though ever so needy ; enough for me, though most 

Come, my soul, what dost thou look for at the table of 
the Lord ? The maker of the feast is God himself, who 
doth nothing little or mean, but is *^ able to do exceeding 
abundantly above what we are able to ask or think.'^ 
When he gives, he gives like himself, gives like a king, 
gives like a God, all things richly to enjoy ; considering 
not what becomes such ungrateful wretches as we are, to 
receive, but what it becomes such a bountiful benefactor 
as he is, to give A lively faith may expect that which is 
rich and great, from him that is possessor of heaven and 
earth, and all the wealth of both ; and that which is kind 
and gracious from him that is the " Father of mercies, and 
the Goc' of all consolation." A lively faith may expect all 
that is '>urchased by the blood of Christ from a God who 
is righteous in all his ways, and all that is promised in th^ 
new covenant from a God who cannot lie nor deceive. 

The provision in this feast is Christ himself, and all his 
benefits ; all we need to save us from being miserable, and 
all we can desire to make us happy : and glorious tfaangs, 
no doubt, may be expected with him,, in whom " it pleased 
the Father, that all fulness should dwell." Let our expeo- 
fations be built upon a right foundation; not any merit tit 
our own, but God's mercy, and Christ's mediation : and 
then build large, as large as the new covenant in its utmost 
extent; build high, as high as heaven in all its glory^ 
Come expecting to see that which is most illustrious, and 
to taste and receive that which is most precious ; come 
expecting that with which you will be abundantly satisfied. 

Though what is prepared seems to a carnal eye poor and 
scanty, like the five loaves set before five thousand men ; 
yet, when Christ hath the breaking of those loaves, they 
shall aii eat and be filled. In this ordinance the oil is mul- 
tiplied, the oil of gladness j it is multiplied in the pouring 

151 , 

but, as the widow's oil. Do as she did, therefore; bring 
em^ty vessels, bring not a few, they shall all be filled ; the 
expectations of faith shall all be answered ; the oil stays 
not, while there is an empty vessel waiting to be filled. 
Give faith and hope their full compass, and thou wilt find, 
as that widow did, there is enough of this oil, this multi- 
plied oil, this oil from the good olive, to pay thy debt, and 
enough beside for thee and thine to live upon. As we oh 
wrong ourselves by expecting too much from the world, 
which is vanity and vexation ; so we oflen wrong ourselves 
by expecting too little from God, whose " mercy is upon 
us, according as we hope in him," and who, in exerting 
his power, and conferring his gifts, still saith, " Accord- 
ing to your faith be it unto you." The king of Israel lost 
his advantage against the Syrians, by ** smiting thrice, and 
then staying,' when he should have smitten five or six 
times." And we do often in like manner prejudice our- 
selves by the weakness of our faith ; we receive little, be- 
cause we expect little ; and are like them among whom 
'^ Christ could not do many mighty works, because of their 

8. Let us come to this ordinance with rejoicing and 
thanksgiving. — These two must go together ; for whatever 
is the matter of our rejoicing, must be the matter of our 
thanksgiving. Holy joy is the heart of our thankful praise, 
and thankful praise the language of holy joy ; and both 
these are very seasonable when we are coming to an ordi- 
nance, which is instituted both for the honour of the R^ 
deemer, and for the comfort of the redeemed. 

Beside the matter of joy and praise with which we are 
famished in our attendance on the ordinance, even our ap- 
proach to it is such an honour, such a favour, asobligeth us 
to " come before his presence with singing, and even to* 
^nter into his gates with thanksgiving — " With gladness 
and rejoicing shall the royal bride be brought." Those 
that in their preparations for the ordinance have been. 
^ sowing in tears, may not only come again with rejoicing, 
bringing their sheaves with them," but ^o with rejoicing to 
fetch their sheaves, to meet the ark, " lifting up their heads 
with joy, knowing that their redemption," and the sealing 
of them to the day of redemption draws nigh. Let those 


that are of a scMrrowful spirit hearken to this ; cheer up 
and be comforted : " This daj is holy unto the Lord jour 
Gody mourn not, nor weep." ** It is the day that the Lord 
hath made, and we must rejoice and be glad in it ;" and 
the joy of the Lord will be our strength, and oil to our 
wheels. Ail things considered, thou hast a great deal 
more reason than Haman had, ** to go in merrily with the 
king, to the banquet of wine." 

» Two things may justly be matter of our rejoicing and 
thanksgi?ing in our approach to this ordinance : — 

1st, That God hath put such a price as this in our hands 
to get wisdom ; that such an ordinance as this was insti- 
tuted for our spiritual nourishment and growth in grace ; 
that it is transmitted down to us, is administered among 
us, and we are inyited to it. This is a token for good, in 
which we have reason to rejoice, and be very thankful for, 
that our lot is not cast either among those who are strangers 
to the gospel, and so have not this ordinance at all, or 
among those who are enemies to the gospel, and have it 
wretchedly corrupted, and turned into an idolatrous ser- 
vice ; but that Wisdom's table is spread among us, and her 
voice heard in our streets, and we are called to her feasts, 
we have a nail in God's holy place, a settlement in his 
house, and stated opportunities of communion with him, — 
'' if the Lord had been pleased to kill us, he would not 
have shown us such things as these. O what a privilege is 
it thus to eat and drink in Christ's presence ! to sit down 
under his shadow at his table, with his friends and favour- 
ites ! that we, who deserved to have been set with the dogs 
of his fiock, should be set with the children of his family, 
and eat of the children's bread ! nay, that we should be 
numbered among his priests, and eat of the dedicate things ! 
^ Bless the Lord, O my soul !" 

2d, That God hath given us t heart to the pric^ in our 
hands. We have reason to be thankful that he hath not 
only invited us to this feast, which is a token of his good 
will towards us ; but that he hath inclined us to accept th^ 
invitation, which is the effect of a good work upon us. 
Many that are called tnake light of it, and go their Way to 
their farms and merchandise ; and, if we had been left td 
dutselves^ we should have made the same foolish choice^ 


and, n the greatness of our folly, should have gone astray, 
and wandered endlessly. It was free grace that made us 
willing in the day of power, and graciously compelled us 
to come in to the gospel feast ; it was distinguishing grace 
that revealed to us babes the things that were hid from tlie 
wis^ and prudent ; let that grace have the glory, and let 
us have the joy of this blessed work. 

9. Let us come to this ordinance in charity with all men, 
and with a sincere affection to all good Christians. It is 
a love feast, and if we do not come in love^ we come with- 
out the wedding garment, and forfeit the comforts of the 
feast. This is to be seriously thought of when we bring 
our gifl to the altar, as we hope for acceptance there. 
When we come to the sacrament, we must bring with us 
ill-will to none, good will to all, but especially to them who 
are of the household of faith. 

1st, We must beai ill-will to none ; no, not to thos6 that 
have been most injurious and provoking to us : though 
they have afi&onted us ever so much in our honour, wronged 
us in our interest, and set themselves to vilify us, and do 
us mischief, yet we must not hate them, nor entertain any 
malice towards them ; we must not be desirous or studious 
of revenge, to seek their hurt in any respect, but must 
from our heart forgive them, as we ourselves are, and hope 
to be forgiven of God. We must see to it, that there be 
not the least degree of enmity to any person in the world 
lodged in our breast, but carefully purge out all that old 
leaven ; not only lay aside the thoughts of it for the pre- 
sent, but wholly pluck up, and cast out that root of bitter- 
ness, " which bears gall and. wormwood." Pure hands 
must, in this ordinance, as well as in prayer, be " lifted 
up without wrath and doubting." How can we expect that 
God should be reconciled to us, if we bring not with us a 
disposition to be reconciled to our brethren ; for our tres- 
passes against God are unspeakably greater than the worst 
of our brethren's trespasses against us. O that each 
would apply this caution to themselves ! You have a neigh- 
bour, that, upon some disgust conceived, you cannot find in 
your hearts to speak to, nor to speak well of; some one 
that you have entertained a prejudice against, and would 
willingly do an ill turn to if it lay in your power ; some 


one, of whom it may be you are ready to say, you cannot 
endure the sight. And dare you retain such a spirit when 
you come to this ordinance ? Can you conceal it from Godt 
Or, do you think you can justify it at his bar, and make it 
out that you do well to be angry \ Let the fear of God's 
wrath, and the hope of Christ's love, reduce you to a bet- 
ter temper ; and when you celebrate the memorial of the 
dying of the Lord Jesus, be sure you remember this, that 
he is our peace, and that he died to slay all enmities. 

2d, We must bear good-will to all, with a particular affec- 
tion to all good Christians. Christian charity doth not 
only forbid that which is any way injurious, but it requires 
that which is kind and friendly. 

The desire of our hearts must be towards the welfare of 
all. If we be indeed solicitors about the salvation of our 
own souls, we cannot but have a tender concern for the 
souls of others, and be hearty well wishers to their salva- 
tion likewise, '' for this is good and acceptable in the sight 
of God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved." 
True grace hates monopolies. We must thus love those 
whose wickedness we are bound to hate ; and earnestly 
desire their happiness, even while we industriously decline 
their fellowship. 

But the " delight of our souls must be in the saints tha^ 
are on the earth, those excellent ones," as David was. 
They are '* precious in God's sight, and honourable, and 
they should be so in ours ; they have fellowship with the 
Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ ;" and therefore, by 
» a sincere and affectionate love to them, we also should 
have fellowship with them. Our hearts will then be com- 
forted, when they are " knit together in love." This love 
must not be confined to those of our own communion, our 
own way and denomination : then we love them for our 
own sakes, because they credit us ; not for Christ's sake, 
because they honour him : but, since God is no respecter 
of persons, we must not be such. " In every nation, he 
that fears God, and works righteousness, is accepted of 
him," and should be so of us. Doubtless, there may be a 
diversity of apprehensions in the less weighty matters of 
the law, such as the distinction of meats and days, and di- 
versity of practice accordingly, and yet a sincerity of mli- 


lual love, according to the law of Christ. Those who think 
it is not possible, should be content to speak for themselves' 
only, and must believe there are those who have much 
satisfaction in being able to say, that they love the image 
of Christ wherever they see it, and highly value a good 
man, though not in every thing of their mind. He that 
casteth out devils in Christ's name must be dear to us, 
though he follow not us. The differences that are among 
Christians, though fomented by the malice of Satan, for 
the ruin of love, are permitted by the wisdom of God for 
the trial of love, that they which are perfect therein may 
be made manifest. Herein a Christain commendeth his 
love, when he loves those who differ from him, and joins 
in affection to those with whom he cannot concur in 
opinion : this is thank-worthy. The kingdom of God is 
not meat and drink ; they that have tasted of the bread of 
life, and the water of life, know it not ; but it is " righteous- 
ness, and peace, ^nd joy in the Holy Ghost ; he, therefore, 
that in these things serveth Christ, is acceptable to God ;'* 
and therefore, though he esteem not our days, though he 
relishes not our meats, he should be acceptable and dear 
to us. 

Let us then, in our approach to this sacrament, stir up 
ourselves to holy love, love without dissimulation ; let us 
bear those on our hearts, whom the great High Priest of 
our profession bears on his ; and, as we are ** taught of 
God to love one another let us increase therein more and 
more." Christ having loved us, is a good reason why we 
should love him : Christ having loved our brethren also, 
is a good reason why we should love them. " Behold how 
good and how pleasant a thing it is for Christians to be 
kindly affectionated one towards another," of one heart, 
and of one soul ! there the Lord commands the blessings 
and gives earnest of the joys of that world, where love is 
perfected and reigns eternally. 




Care being taken, by the grace of God, to compose 
ourselves into a serious frame of spirit agreeable to the 
ordinance, we must next apply ourselves to that which is 
the proper business of it. And the first thing^to be done is 
to contemplate that which is represented and set before us 
there. This David aimed at when he coveted to dwell in 
the house of the Lord all the days of his '' life, that he 
might behold the beauty of the Lord;" "might see his 
power and his glory." To the natural man, who receiveth 
not the things of the Spirit of God, there appears in it no- 
thing surprising, nothing affecting, no form nor comeliness; 
but to that faith, which is the " substance and evidence of 
things not seen," there appears a great sight, which, like 
Moses, it will, with a holy reverence, turn aside now to 
see. As, therefore, in our preparation for this ordinance, 
we should pray, with David, " Open thou mine eyes, that 
I may see the wondrous things of thy law and gospel ;" so 
we should, with Abraham, "lift up our eyes now and 

When the Lamb that had been slain had taken the book, 
and was going tp open the seals, St. John, who had the 
honour to be a witness in vision of the solemnity, web 
loudly called, by one of the four living creatures, to come 
and see. The same is th^ call given to us when, in 
this sacrament, there is a door opened in heaven, and we 
are bidden to come up hither. 

1. In general, we are here called to see the Lamb that 
had been slain opening the seals. This is the general 
idea we are to have of the ordinance. We would have 
thought ourselves highly favoured indeed, and beloved dis- 
ciples, if we had seen it in vision, as John did ; behold we 
are all invited to see it in a sacramental representation. 

In this ordinance is showed the Lamb as it had beea 

157 • 

slain. John the Baptist pointed to him as the Lamb of 
God, and called upon his followers to behold him. A Lamb 
designed for sacrifice, in order to the taking away of the 
sins of the world, a harmless, spotless Lamb; but John the 
Divine goes further, and sees him, a Lamb, slain, now sa- 
crificed for us in the outer court ; and not only so, but ap- 
pearing '^ in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, 
and of the elders,'' as if he were newly slain, bleeding 
afresh, and yet alive, and " lives for evermore," constantly 
presenting his sacrifice within the vail. The blood of the 
Lamb always flowing, that it may still be sprinkled on our 
consciences, to purify and pacify them, and may still speak 
in heaven for us, in that prevailing intercession which the 
Lord Jesus ever lives to make there, in virtue of his satis- 

In this ordinance, the Lord's death is shown forth ; it is 
shown forth to us, that it may be shown forth by us. Jesus 
Christ is here '' evidently set forth crucified among us,' 
that we may ** all with open face behold, as in a glass, the 
glory of God, in the face of Christ." Thus, as Christ 
*' was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world," in 
the types and prophecies of the Old Testament, and the 
application of his merits to the saints that lived then ; so 
he will be the Lamb slain to the end of the world, in the 
word and sacraments of the New Testament, and the ap- 
plication of his merits to the saints that are now, and shall 
b^ in every age. Still he is seen as a Lamb that had been 
slain ; for this sacrifice doth not, like the Old Testament 
sacrifices, decay and wax old. 

This is the sight, the great sight ; we are here to see 
the bush burning, and yet not consumed : for the Lord is 
in it his people's God and Saviour. The wounds of this 
fiamb are here open before us. Come, see in Christ's 
hands the very print of the nails, see in his side the very 
marks of the spear. Behold him in his agony, sweating as 
if it had been " great drops of blood falling to the ground ;" 
then accommodating himself to the work he had undertaken; 
eouching between two burdens, and bowing his shoulder 
to bear them. Behold him " in his bonds, when the breath 
of our nostrils, the anointed of the lA>Td, was taken in their 
pits," and he was bound that we might go out firee. Be* 


hold him at the bar prosecuted and condemned as a ctimK 
naly because he was made sin for us, and had undertaken 
to answer for our guilt. Behold him upon the cross, en- 
during the pain, and despising the shame of the cursed 
tree. Here is his body broken, his blood shed, his soul 
poured out unto death ; all his sufferings, with all their ag« 
gravations, are here, in such a manner as the divine wisdom 
saw fit, by an instituted ordinance, represented to us, and 
set before us. 

In this ordinance is shown us the Lamb that was slain, 
opening the seals of the everlasting gospel ; not only dis- 
covering to us the glories of the divine light, but dispen- 
sing to us the graces of divine love ; opening the seids of 
the fountain of life, which had been kmg as a spring shot 
up ; and rolling away the stone, that from thence we may 
draw water with joy ; opening the seals of the book of life, 
that things hid from ages and generations might be mani- 
fested unto us, and we might know the things which are 
freely given us of God ; opening the seals of God's trea- 
sures, " the unsearchable riches of Christ,*- which should 
have been sealed up for ever from us, if he had not found 
out a way to supply and enrich us out of them ; opening 
the seals of heaven's gates, which had been shut and sealed 
against us, and consecrating for us " a new and living way 
into the holiest by his own blood." This is a glorious 
sight, and that which cannot but raise our expectations of 
something further ; this is the principal sight given us in 
this ordinance ; but when we view this accurately, we shall 
find there is that in it which '' eye hath not seen nor ear 

2. In particular we are here called to see many other 
things which we may infer from this general representation 
of the sufferings of Christ. It is a very fruitful subject, 
and that which will lead us to the consideration of diverse 
things very profitable. When we come to this sacrament, 
we should ask ourselves the question, which Christ put to 
those that had been John's hearers, *' What went ye out for 
to see ?" What do we come to the Lord's table to see t 
We come to see that which, if God gives us the eye of faith 
to discern, it will be very affecting. Let this voice, there* 
fore, be still sounding in our ears, " Come and see." 


. 1st, Come and see the evil of sin. This we are concern- 
ed to see, that we may be truly humbled for our sins past, 
and may be firmly engaged by resolution and holy watch- 
fiilness against sin for the future. It was for our trans- 
gressions that Christ was thus wounded, for our iniquities 
that he was bruised ; '* know, therefore, O my soul, and 
see, that it is an evil and bitter thing, that thou hast for- 
saken the Lord thy God^ and that my fear is not in thee, 
saith the Lord (jod of hosts." That was a great provoca- 
tion to God, which nothing would atone for bul such a sa- 
crifice ; a dangerous disease to us, which nothing would 
heal but such a medicine. '* This is thy wickedness, be- 
cause it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart." 

Here sin appears sin, and by the cross of Christ, as well 
as. by the command of God, it becomes exceeding sinful. 
The malignity of its nature was very great, and more than 
we can conceive or express ; for it had made such a breach, 
between God and man, as none less than he who wa^^both 
God and man could repair ; none less than he durst under- 
take to be made sin for us, to become surety for that debt, 
and intercessor for such offenders. It was impossible that 
the blood of bulls and goats should take away sin ; the stain 
was too deep to be washed out so ; '' sacrifice and offering 
God* did not desire," would not accept as sufficient to purge 
us firom it ; no, the Son of God himself must come to *' put 
away sin by the sa^crifice of himself," or it will for ever sep- 
lurate between us and God. 

Here sin appears death, and in the cross of Christ, shows 
itself exceeding hurtful. Behold, my soul, and see what 
mischief sin makes, by observing how dear it cost the Re- 
deemer, when he undertook to satisfy for it ; how he sweat- 
ed and groaned, bled and died, when the " Lord laid upon 
him the iniquities of us all ;" look on sin through this glass, 
and it will appear in its true colour, black and bloody t 
nothing can be more so. The fatal consequences of sin 
are seen more in the sufferings of Christ, thai^ in all the 
calamities that it has brought upon the world of mankind. 
O what a painful, what a shameful thing is sin, which put 
the Lord Jesus to so much pain, to so much shame, when 
he bore our " sins in his own body upon the tree." 
. See this my soul, with application ; it was thy sin, thy 


own iniquity, that lay so heavy upon the Lord ie^ns, when 
he cried out " My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even "unto 
death.'' It was thy pride and passion, thy worldliness and 
nncleanness, the carnal mind in thee, which is enmity 
against God, that crowned him with thorns, and nailed him 
to the cross, and laid him for a time under the sense of 
God's withdrawing from him. Is this so? And shall I 
ever again make a mock at sins ? Ever again make a 
light matter of that of which Christ made so great a mat- 
ter ? God forbid ! " Is it a small thing to weary men, but 
have I by my sin wearied my God also ?" — " Have I made 
him thus to serve, and thus to suffer by my sins?" and shall 
I ever be reconciled to sin again ? or, shall I ever think a 
favourable thought of it any more ? No : by the grace of 
God I never will. The carnal pleasure, and worldly pro- 
fit'that sin can promise, will never balance the pain and 
shame to which it put my Redeemer. 
■ M^itate revenge, my soul, a holy revenge, such a re- 
venge as will be no breach of the law of charity ; such a 
revenge as is one of the fruits of godly sorrow. If sin 
was the death of Christ, why should not I be the death of 
sin ? When David lamented Saul and Jonathan, who were 
slain by the archers of the Philistines, it is said, ** He taught 
the children of Judah the use of the bow," that they might 
avenge the death of their princes upon their enemies. 
Let us thence receive instruction. — Did sin, did my sin 
crucify Christ ? And shall not I crucify it ? If it be ask- 
ed, why, what evil has it done ; say, it cost the blood of 
the Son of God to expiate it ; and therefore, cry out so 
much the more, " Crucify it, crucify it." And thus all 
that are Christ's have in some measure crucified the flesh. 
As Christ died for sin, so we must die to sin. 

2d, Come and see the justice of God. Many ways the 
great Judge of the world hath made it to appear that he 
hates sin ; and, both by the judgments of his mouth in the 
written word, and the judgments of his hand in the course 
of his providence, he hath revealed " his wrath from hea- 
ven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men." 
It is true that he is gracious and merciful, but it is as true, 
that, " God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth." God, even 
our God, is a consuming fire, and will reckon for the viola^ 


Cion of his laws, and the injuries done to ' his crown and 
dignity. The tenor of the Scripture from the seccmd of Ge- 
nesis, to the last of Revelation, proves this, ** The soul 
that sinneth, it shall die." In many remarkable punish- 
ments of sin, even in this life, it is written as with a sun- 
beam, so that he that runs may read, that the Lord is righ- 

But never did the justice of God appear so conspicuous, 
80 illustrious, as in the death and sufferings of Jesus Christ 
set before us in this ordinance. Here his '' righteousness 
is like the great mountains,- though his judgments are a 
great deep." Come and see the holy God, showing his 
displeasure against sin in the death of Christ, more than 
in the ruin of angels, the drowning of the old world, Uie 
burning of Sodom, and the destruction of Jerusalem : nay^ 
more than in the torments of hell, all things considered. 

God manifested his justice, in demanding such satisfkc 
tion for sin, as Christ was to make by the blood of his 
cross. Hereby he made it to appear how great the provot 
cation was which was done him by the sin of man, that, 
not only such an excellent person must be chosen to inters 
cede for us, but his sufferings and death must be insisted 
on, to atone for us. Sin being committed against an infin- 
ite majesty, seems by this to have in it a kind of infinite 
malignity, that the remission of it could not be procured, 
but by a satisfaction of infinite value. If mere mercy had 
pardoned sin, without any provision made to answer the 
demands of injured justice, God had declared his goodness } 
but, when Jesus Christ is set forth to be a propitiation for 
flin, and God is pleased to put himself to so vast an ex-* 
pense, for the saving of the honour of his government in the 
forgiveness of sin, this declares his righteousness; it 
declares, '' I say, at this time his righteousness; that he-migfat 
be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." 

Sin hath wronged God in his honour, for he CjBLD&ot oth* 

erwise be wrong^ by any of his creatures. In brealoBg 

tiie law, we dishonour God ; we sin and come short of his 

glory. For this wrong, satisfiiction must be made : that 

4rhich first offers, is the eternal ruin of the sinner ; let the 

ABBtence of the law be executed, and thereby God may get 

him honour upon us, in'lieu of that be should have had 


from 08. But can no expedient be found out to satisQ^ 
Qod, and yet saTe the sinner ? Is it not possible to offer 
an equivalent ? '* Will the Lord be pleased with thousands 
of rams, or ten thousand rivers of oil ? Shall we give our 
first bom for our transgressions^ the fi'uit of our body for 
the sin of our soul ?" No ; these are not tantamount : no 
submissions, sorrows, supplications, services, or su^rings 
of ours, can be looked upon as a valuable consideration 
ibr the righteous Grod to proceed upon, in forgiving -such 
injuries, and restoring such criminals to his favour. The 
best we do is imperfect ; the utmost we can do is al- 
ready owing. Here, therefore, the Lord Jesus interpo- 
seth, undertakes to make a full reparation of the injury 
done to Crod's glory by sin ; clothes himself with our na- 
.ture, and becomes surety for us, as Paul for Onesimus : 
** If they have Mrronged thee, or owe thee ought, put that 
on mine account; I have written it with mine own hand, 
with mine own blood I will repay it." He was made sin 
•for us, a curse for us, an offering for our sin. He *f bore 
our sins in his own body on the tree ;" and thus the jui^^ 
tice of God was not only satisfied, but greatly glorified. 
Come and see how bright it shines here. 

God manifested his justice, in dealing as he did with 
'him who undertook to make satisfaction. Having " laid 
upon him the iniquity of us all, he laid it home to him ; for 
it pleased the Lord to bruise him, and put him to grief. 
He was not only despised and rejected of men, who knew 
him not, but he was stricken, smitten of God and afflict* 
ed.'' The ancient way in which God testifieth his accep- 
tance of sacrifices, was by consuming them with fire firom 
heaven. The wrath of God, which the offerers deserved 
should have fallen upon them, fell upon the offering ; and 
80 the destruction of the sacrifice was the escape of the 
sinner. Christ becoming a sacrifice for us, the fire of 
God's wrath descended upon him, which troubled his«ou], 
put him into an agony, and made him cry out, " My God, 
my God, why hast thou forsaken me 1" '^ Come, then, and 
behold the goodness and severity of Grod.'' '' Christl)eing 
made sin for us, God did not spare him." ** By the de- 
terminate counsel and foreknowledge of God, he was de- 
livered to them who, with wicked hands, crucified and slew 


him/' " Awake, O sword, the sword of divine justice^ 
furnished and bathed- in heaven ! Awake against my 
Shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow^ saith the 
Lord of hosts, smite the Shepherd." 

Let us k)ok on the sufferings of Christ, and say, as he 
himself hath taught us, " If this be done in the green 
tree, what shall be done in the dry ?" What was done to 
him, shows what should have been done to us, if. Christ 
had not interposed ; and what will be done to us, if we 
reject him. If this were done to the Son of God's love, 
what shall be done to the generation of his wrath? If 
this were done to one that had but sin imputed to him, 
who, as he had no corruptions of his own for Satan's 
temptations to fasten upon, so he had no guilt of his own 
for God's wrath to fasten upon ; who was as a green tree, 
not apt to take fire ; what shall be done to those who 
have sin inherent in them, which makes them as a dry 
tree, combustible and proper fuel for the fire of God's wrath? 
If this were done to one that had done so much good, 
what shall be done to us, that had done so little ? If the 
Lord Jesus himself was put into an agony by the things 
that were done to fcim, was i sorrowful, and very heavy, 
''can our hearts endure, or can our hands be strong, when 
God shall deal with us ?" " Who would set the briers and 
thorns against him in battle?" From the sufferings of 
Christ, we may easily infer what a " fearful thing it is to 
fall into the bands of the living God." 
. 3d, Come and see the love of Christ. — This is that which, 
with a peculiar regard, we are to observeiand contemplate 
in this ordinance : where we see Christ and him cruci- 
fied, we cannot but see the love of Christ, which passeth 
knowledge. When Christ did but drop a tear over the 
grave of Lazarus, the Jews said, " See how he loved him !" 
Much more reason have we to say, when we commemo- 
rate the shedding of his blood for us, '' See how he loved 
us!" Greater love hath no man than this, to lay down 
his life for his friend. Thus Christ hath loved us ; nay, 
he laid down his life for us, when we were enemies. 
Herein is love ; love without precedent, love without par- 
allel. Come and see the wonders of this love* 


It was free love.^-Christ gave himself for us ; and what 
more free than a gift ? It was free, for it was unasked ; 
nothing cried for this mercy, but our own misery ; when 
no eye pitied us, of his own good will he relieved us^ 
^* said to us when we were in our blood, Live ; yea, he said 
to us. Live.'' That was a time of love indeed. It was 
free, for it was unmerited ; there was nothing in uq de- 
sirable, nothing promising; the relation we stood in to 
God as creatures, did but aggravate our rebellion, and 
make us the more obnoxious. As he could not obtain 
any advantage by our happiness, so he would not have 
sustained any damage by our misery. If there wa& no 
profit in our blood, yet for certain there would have 
been no loss by it ; no, but the reasons of his love were 
fetched from within himself, as God's iove of Israel was. 
He loved them, because he would love them. It was 
free, for it was unforced; he willingly offered himself. 
Here am I, send me. This sacrifice was bound to the 
horns of the altar, only with the cords of his own love. 

It was distinguishing love. — ^It was good will to fallen 
man, and not to fallen angels. He did not lay hold on a 
world of sinking angels ; as their tree fell, so it lies, and so 
it is like to lie for ever ; but on the seed of Abraham he 
taketh hold. The nature of angels was more excellent 
than that of man, their place in the creation higher, their 
capacity for honouring God greater ; and yet they were 
passed by. Man that sinned, was pitied and helped; 
while angels that sinned, were not so much as spared. 
The deplorable state of devils, serves as a foil to set off the 
blessed state of the ransomed of the Lord. 

It was condescending love. — ^Never did love humble 
itself, and stoop so low as the love of Christ did. It was 
great condescension, that he should pitch his love upmi 
creatures so mean, ^* man that is a worm, the son of man 
that is a worm;" so near a-kin to the brutal part of tiw 
creation, especially since the fall, that one would think he 
should rather be the scorn than the love of the spiritual 
and purely intellectual world : yet this is the creature thai 
is chbsen to be the darling of heaven, and in whom Whh 
dom's delights are. But especially, that, in prosecotioa of 


bis love, he should humble himself as he did; humble 
himself to the earth in his incarnation; humble himself 
into the earth, in the meanness of life ; humble himself 
into the earth, when he went to the grave, the place 
where mankind appears under the greatest mortification 
and disgrace. 

It was expensive love. — His washing the feat of his dis- 
ciples, is spoken of as an act of love to them, and that was 
condescending love, but not costly like this. He loved us, 
and bought us, and paid dear for us, that we might be un- 
to him a purchased people. Because he loved Israel, he 
gave ** men for them, and people for their life even Egypt 
for their ransom." But because he Ibved us, he gave 
himself for us, even his own blood for the ransom of our 

It was strong love, strong as death, and which many 
waters could not quench. This was the greatness of his 
strength, in which the Redeemer travelled, who is mighty 
to save ; it was strong to break through great difficulties, 
and trample upon the discouragements that lay in his way. 
When he had this bap>tism of blood to be baptized with, it 
was love that said, " How am I straitened till it be accom- 
plished !" It was love that said, " With desire have I de- 
sired to eat this passover," which he knew was to be his 
last. It was the strength of his love that reconciled him to 
the bitter cup which was put into his hand, and made him 
waive his petition, '^ that it might pass from him;" which, 
for ought we know, if he had insisted upon, it had been 
granted, and the work undone. 

It was an everlasting love.— It was from everlasting in the 
counsels of it, and will be to everlasting in the consequences 
of it. Not like our love, which comes up in a night and 
perisheth in a night. He loved to the end, and went on 
with his undertaking till he said, " It is finished." Never 
was there such a constant lover as the blessed Jesus, whose 
gifts and callings are without repentance. 

4th, Come and see the conquest of Satan. And this is 
a very pleasing sight to all those who through grace are 
turned from the power of Satan unto God, as it was to the 
Israelites, when they had newly shaken ofT the Egyptian 
yoke, to see their task-masters and pursuers dead upon the 


■ea-shore. Come and see our Joshua discomfiting the 
Amalekites ; our David with a sling and a stone^ vanquish- 
ing that proud Goliah, who not only himself basely desert- 
ed, but then boldly defied the armies of the living God 
Come and see, not Michael and his angels, but Michael 
himself: Michael our prince, who trode the wine-press 
alone, entering the lists with the dragon and his angels, and 
giving them an effectual overthrow ; the seed of the woman, 
though bruised in the heel, yet breaking the serpent's 
iiead, according to that ancient promise made unto the fii- 
thers. Come and see the great Redeemer, not only mak- 
ing peace with earthy but making war withheU ; dispossess* 
ing the strong man armed, " lulling principalities and 
powers, making a show of them openly, and triumphing 
over them in his cross." 

5th, Come and see Christ triumphing over Satan at his 
death. Though the war was in heaven, yet some fruits of 
the victory even then appeared on earth. Though, when 
Christ was in the extremity of his sufferings, Uiere was 
darkness over all the land, which gave the powers of dark-^ 
ness all the advantage they could wish for ; yet he beat 
the enemy upon his own ground. Satan, some think, terw 
rified Christ in bis agony : but then he kept possession of 
his own soul, and steadily adhered to bis Father's will, and 
to his own undertaking : so he bafiled Satan. Satan put 
it into the heart of Judas to betray him ; but in the inune- 
diate ruin of Judas, who presently went and hanged him- 
self, Christ triumphed over Satan, and made a show of him 
openly. Satan tempted Peter to deny Christ, desiring to 
have him, that he might sift him as wheat ; but, by the 
speedy repentance of Peter, who, upon a look firom Christ, 
went out and wept bitterly, Christ triumphed over Satan, 
and baffled him in his designs. Satan wasready to swallow 
up the thief upon the cross ; but Christ rescued him firom 
the gates of hell, and raised him to the glorieii of heaven, 
and thereby spoiled Satan, who was as a lion disappointed 
of his prey. 

Come and see Christ triumphing over Satan by his 
death , the true Samson, that did more towards the ruin 
of the Philistines dying than living ; having by his life and 
doctrine destroyed the works of the devil, at length by his 
death *' he destroyed the devil himself, that had the power 


of death/' In him was fulfilled the bWsing of the tribe 
of Gad — ** A troop shall overcome him^ but he shall OTer- 
come at the last ;" and '' through him that loved us we ard 
conquerors, yea, more than conquerors." 

Christ, by dying, made atonement for sin, and so con- 
quered Satan. By the merit of his death he satisfied 
God's justice for the sins of all that should believe in him ; 
and if the judge remit the sentence, the executioner hath 
nothing to do with the prisoner We were ready to fall 
under the curse, to be made an anathema, that is, to be 
delivered unto Satan ; Christ said. Upon me be the curse : 
this blotted out the handwriting that was against us, took 
that out of the way, nailed that to the cross ; and so Satan 
is spoiled ; — ^who shall condemn ? It is Christ that died. 
When God forgives the iniquities of his people, he brings 
back their captivity. If we shall not come into, condem- 
nation, we are saved fi^om coming into execution. 

Christ, by dying, sealed the gospel of grace, and purcha- 
sed the Spirit of gt'ace ; and so conquered Satan. The 
Spirit acting by the gospel as the instrument, and the gos- 
pel animat^ by the Spirit as th<e principaJ, are become 
** mighty to the pulling down of Satan's strong holds.*' 
Thus, a foundation is laid for a believer's victory over the 
temptations and terrors of the wicked one. Christ's vic- 
tory over Satan is our victory, and we overcome him " by 
the blood of the Lamb." Thus kings of armies did fiee 
apace, and even they that tarried at home, and did them- 
selves contribute nothing to the victory, yet '' divided the 
spoil." Christ having thus trodden Satan under our feet, 
he calls to us, as Joshua to the captains of Israel, '^ Come 
near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings." " Re- 
sist the devil and he will fiee from you," for he is a con- 
quered enemy. 

6th, Come and see the worth of souls. — We judge of the 
▼alue of a thing by the price which a wise man that under-^ 
stands it gives for it. He that made souls, and had reason: 
to know them, provided ibr their redemption, not ** cor- 
ruptible things as silver and gold, but the precious blood of 
his own son." It was not a purchase made hastily, for it 
was the contrivance of infinite wisdom firom eternity ; it was 
not made fi)r necessity, for he neither needed us nor could 


"he benefited by us, but thus he was pleased to teach us 
what account we should make of our own souls, and their 
Alvation and happiness. The incarnation of Christ put a 
great honour upon the human nature ; never was it so dig- 
nified, as when it was taken into union with the diTine na- 
ture in the person of Immanuel. But the death and suf- 
ferings of Christ add much more to its value, for he laid 
down his own life to be a ransom of ours, when nothing else 
was sufficient to answer the price. ** Lord, what is man 
that he should be thus visited, thus regarded ! That the 
Son of God should not only dwell among us, but die for 

Now, let us see this, and learn how to put a value upon 
our own souls. Not so as to advance our conceit of our- 
selves, — ^nothing can be more humbling and debasing, than 
to see our lives sold by our own folly, and redeemed by the 
merit of another ; but so as to increase our concern for our- 
selves, and our own spiritual interests. Shall the souls, the 
precious souls, upon which Christ put such a value, and 
paid such a price for, debase and undervalue themselves so 
iar as to become slaves to Satan, and drudges to the world 
and the fiesh ? We are bought with a price, and therefore 
we not only injure the purchaser's right to us, if we alienate 
ourselves to another, but we reproach his wisdom in paying 
such a price, if we alienate ourselves for a thing of nought 
It is the apostle's argument against uncleanness, and against 
making themselves the servants of men. Christ having pur- 
chased our souls at such a rate, we disparage them if wet 
stake them to the trifles of this world, or pawn them for the 
base and sordid pleasures of sin. Shall that birthright be 
sold for a mess of pottage, which Christ bought with , his 
own blood 1 No ; while we live, let our souls be our dar* 
ling, for his sake to whom they were so dear. If Christ 
died and suffered so much to save our souls, let us not haz- 
ard the losing of them, though it be to gain the whole 

Let us see this, and learn how to put a value upon the 
Bouls of others. This forbids us to do any thing that may 
turn to the prejudice of the souls of others, by drawing 
them to sin, or discouraging them in that which is good. 
The s^stle lays a great stress upon this argument, against 


the abuse of our Christian liberty, to the offence of others 
— " Destroy not him with thy meat for whom Christ died." 
Shall not we deny ourselves and our own satisfaction, rath- 
er than occasion guilt or grief to them for whom^ Christ 
humbled himself, even to the death of the cross ? Shall 
we slight those upon whom Christ put such a value ? Shall 
we set those with the dogs of our flock, whom Christ pur- 
chased with his own blood, and set among the lambs of his 
flock? God forbid. 

This also commands us to do all we can for the spiritual 
welfare and salvation of the souls of others. Did Christ 
think them worth his blood ? And shall not we think them 
worth our care and pains ? Shall not we willingly do our 
utmost to save a soul from death, and thereby hide a mul- 
titude of sins, when Christ did so much, and suffered so 
much, to make it possible ? Shall not we pour out our 
prayers for them for whom Christ poured out his soul unto 
death, and bear them upon our hearts whom Christ laid so 
near his ? Blessed Paul, in consideration hereof, not only 
made himself the servant of all to please them for their ed- 
ification, but was willing to be " offered upon the sacrifice 
and service of their faith," and so to fill up what was be- 
hind of the afflictions of Christ for his body^s sake." And 
if we be at any time called upon even to lay down our lives 
for the brethren, we must remember that in that, as well 
as in washing their feet, Christ hath lefl us an example. 

7th, Come and see the purchase of the blessings of the 
new covenant. The blood of Christ was not only the ran- 
som of our forfeited lives, and the redemption of our souls 
from everlasting misery ; but it was the valuable consider- 
ation upon which the grant of eternsLl life and happiness is 
grounded. Christ's death is our life ; that is, it. is not only 
our salvation from death, but it is the fountain of all our 
joys, and the foundation of all our hopes. All the comforts 
we have in possession, and all we have in prospect ; all the 
privileges of our way, and all those of, our home, are the 
blessed firuits of that accursed tree on which our Redeemer 

See the blood of Christ, the spring from whence all the 
blessings of the covenant flow. That is the price of all our 
{)ardons, " we have redemption through his bloody even the 


forgiveness of sins :" without the shedding of blood, that 
precious blood, there had been no remission. That is the 
purchase of the divine favour, which is our life, we are 
made accepted only in the beloved. Peace is made, a cov- 
enant of peace settled, and peace secured to all the sons, 
peace by the blood of his cross, and not otherwise. That 
is the price paid for the '' purchased possession, that they 
which are 'called may receive the promise of eternal in- 
heritance.'' Christ was made a curse for us, not only to 
redeem us from the curse of the law, but that we through 
him might inherit the blessing. Thus, " out of the eater 
comes forth meat, and out of the strong sweetness." Be- 
hold, he shows us a mystery. 

See the blood of Christ, the stream in which all the 
blessings of the covenant flow to us. The blood of Christ, 
as it is exhibited to us in this ordinance, is this vehicle, 
the channel of conveyance by which all graces and com- 
forts descend from heaven to earth. " This cup is the 
New Testament in the blood of Christ," and so it becomes 
a cup of blessing, a cup of consolation, a cup of salvation. 
All the hidden manna comes to us in this dew. It is the 
blood of Christ speaking for us, that pacifies an offended 
God : it is the blood of Christ sprinkled on us, that puri- 
fies a defiled conscience. As it was the ^* blood of Jesus 
that consecrated for us the new and living way,*' and open- 
ed the kingdom of heaven to all believers ; so it is by that 
blood that we have boldness " to enter into the holiest." 

8th. Come and see how miich we owe to the death of 
Christ, the rich purchases he made for us, that he might 
cause us to inherit substance, and might fill our treasures. 
Let this increase our esteem of the love of Christ, which 
was not only so very expensive to himself, but so very ad- 
vantageous to us. Let this also enhance the value of cove- 
nanting blessings in our eyes. The blessings of this life 
we owe to the bounty of God's providence, but spiritual 
blessings in heavenly things we owe to the blood of his 
Son. Let these, therefore, be to us more precious than 
rubies, — let these always have a preference, — let us be wil- 
ling to part with any "thing, rather than hazard the favour 
of God, the comforts of the Spirit, and life eternal, re- 



membering what these cost, — let us never make light of 
wisdom's preparations, when we see at what rate they 
were brought in. To them who believe they are precious, 
for they know they were purchased by the precious blood 
of Christ, which we undervalue as a common thing, if we 
prefer farms and merchandise before heaven and the pre- 
sent earnests of it. 





In the Lord's Supper, we not only " show the Lord's 
death/' and see what is to be seen in it, as many who, 
when he was upon the cross, stood afar off beholding. No ; 
we must there be more than spectators, we must eat of the 
sacrifice, and " so partake of the altaf." The bread which 
came down from heaven was not designed merely for show- 
bread, bread to be looked upon, but for household bread, 
bread to be fed upon, bread to strengthen our hearts, and 
wine to make them glad ; and wisdom's invitation is, ** Come 
eat of my bread, and drink of the wine that I have ming- 
led." Christ's feeding great multitudes miraculously, more 
than once, when he was here upon earth, was (as his other 
miracles) significant of the spiritual provision he makes in 
the everlasting gospel, for the support and satisfaction of 
those that leave all to follow him. If we do not all eat, 
and be not all filled abundantly, with the goodness of his 
house, it is our own fault. Let us not then straiten and 
starve ourselves, for the master of the feast has not stinted 
us ; he has not only invited us, and made provision for our 
entertainment, but he calls to us as one that bids us hearty 
welcome, " Eat, O my friends : drink, yea, drink abun- 
dantly, O beloved." 

All people are for what they can get : here is something 
to be got in this ordinance, if it be rigidly improved, which 
will turn to our account infinitely more than the " mer- 
chandise of silver, or the gain of fine gold." Christ and 
all his benefits are here not only set before us, not only of- 
fered to us, but settled upon us, under certain provisos and 
limitations ; so that a believer, who sincerely consents to 
the covenant, receives some of the present benefits of it in 


and by this ordinance, both in the comfortable experiendeir 
of communion with God in grace, and the comfortable ex« 
pectatidns of the vision and fruition of God in glory. 

Gospel ordinances in general, and this in particular, 
which is the seal of gospel premises, are wells of salvation^ 
out of which we may draw water with Joy ; breasts of con- 
solation from which we may suck and be satisfied ; golden 
pipes, through which the oil of grace is derived from the 
good olive, to keep our lamps burning. We receive the 
grace of God herein in vain, if we take not what is here 
tendered, gospel blessings upon gospel terms. We are 
here to receive Jesus Christ the Lord, and since " with 
him God freely gives us all things," we must with him by 
faith take what he gives ; ^' all spiritual blessings in hea- 
venly things by Christ Jesus." 

Here we may receive the pardon and forgiveness of our 
sins. This is that great blessing of the new covenant, 
which makes way for all other blessings, by taking down 
that wall of partition which separated between us and God, 
and hinders good things from us ; it is the matter of that 
promise which comes in as a reason for all the rest ; I will 
do so and so for them, *^ for I will be merciful to their un- 
righieousness." This is that great blessing which Christ' 
died to purchase for us ; his blood was shed for many, for 
the remission of sins ; and perhaps he intimated this to be 
in a special manner designed by him in his sufferings, 
when the first word we find recorded, that he spoke aflef 
he was nailed to the cross was, " Father forgive them,'*^ 
which seems to look not only to those that had an immedi- 
ate hand in his death, but to those that are remotely ac- 
cessary to it, as all sinners are, though they know not what 
they do. 

The everlasting gospel is an act of indemnity : an act 
of oblivion we may call it, for it is promised that our sins 
and iniquities he will remember no more : it is indeed an 
act of grace ; repentance and remission of sins is by it 
published in Christ's name to all nations. It is proclaimed 
to the rebels, that, if they will lay down their arms, ac- 
knowledge their offence, return to thefr allegiance, afiprove 
themselves good subjects for the future, and make the me- 
rits of him whom the Father hath appointed to be the Me- 


diator, their plea in suing out their pardon, the offended 
prince will be reconciled to them, their attainder shall be 
reversed, and they shall not only be restored to all the priv- 
ileges of subjects, but advanced to the honours and advan- 
tages of favourites. Now it concerns us all to be able to 
make it out ,that we are entitled to the benefit of this act, 
that we are qualified according to the tenor of it, fi>r the 
favour intended by it ; and if we be so indeed, in the 
Lord's Supper we receive that pardon to us in particular, 
which in the gospel is proclaimed to all in general. We 
do here receive the atonement, as the expression is. God. 
hath received it for the securing of his honour, and we re- 
ceive it for the securing of our happiness and comfi>rt ; we 
claim the benefit of it, and desire to be justified and ac- 
cepted of God for the sake of it. 

The sacrament should therefore be received with a heart 
thus lifting up itself to God : *' Lord I am a sinner, a great- 
sinner, I have done very foolishly ; forfeited thy favour, in- 
curred thy displeasure, and deserve to be for ever abandfm- 
ed by thee. But Christ died ; yea, rather is risen again,, 
hath finished transgression, made an end of sin, made re- 
conciliation for iniquity, and brought in an everlasting* 
'righteousness ; he gave his life a ransom for many, and if^ 
for many, why not for me ? In him a free and fiiU remissioil 
is promised to all penitent, obedient believers ; by him ail- 
that believe are justified, and to them there is no con» 
demnation. Thou, even thou, art be that blottestout their 
transgressions for thine own sake, and art gracious and 
merciful ; nay thou art faithful and just to forgive them 
their sins. Lord, I repent, — ^I believe, and take the bene- 
fit of those promises, those exceeding great and precious 
promises, which are to my soul as life from the dead. I 
flee to this city of refuge, I take hold of the horns of this 
altar ; here I humbly receive the forgiveness of my sina^ 
through Jesus Christ, the great propitiation, to whom I 
entirely owe it, and to whom I acknowledge myself infin- 
itely indebted for it, and under the highest obligations im- 
aginable to love him, and live to him. He is the Lord our 
righteousness, so accept I him ; let him be made of God 
to m^righteousness, and I have enough ; I am happy ftn 


Bvery time we come to the Lord's sapper, we come to 
receive the remission of sins, that is, 

1st, A renewed pardon of daily trespasses^ — In many 
things we offend daily, and even he that is washed, that ia 
in a justified state, needs to wash his feet , and blessed be 
God, there is a fountain opened for us to wash in, and en- 
couragement given to pray for daily pardon as duly as we 
do for daily bread. We have to do with a God that multi-. 
plies pardon. Lord, the guilt of such a sin lies upon me 
like a heavy burden ; I have lamented it, confessed it, re- 
newed my covenants against it, and now in this ordinance 
I receive the forgiveness of that sin : and here it is said to 
my soul, " the Lord hath put away thy sin, thou shalt not 
die." Many a fault I have been overtaken in since I was 
last with the Lord at his' table ; and having repented of 
them, I desire to apply the blood of Christ to my soul, in a 
particular manner for the forgiveness of them. 

2d, A confirmed pardon of all trespasses. — I come here 
to receive further assurances of the forgiveness of my sins, 
and further comfort arising from those assurances. I come 
to hear again that voice of joy and gladness, which hath 
made many a broken bone to rejoice — *' Son, daughter, be 

good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee ;" I come for the 

her's kiss to a returning prodigal, which seals his pardon^ 
so as to silence his doubts and fears. When God would 
by his prophets speak comfortably to Zion, thus he saith — 
** Thy. warfare is accomplished, thine iniquity is pardoned.*' 
And the inhabitant shall not say, '* I am sick ;" that is, he 
shall see no cause to complain of any outward calamity, if 
his iniquity be forgiven. O that I might here have the 
"white stone of absolution, and my pardon written more leg- 
ible ! O that Christ would say to me as he did to that wo- 
man, to whom much was already forgiven, *' Thy sins are 
forgiven !" This is what I come to receive, O let me not 
go away without it 

2. Here we may receive adoption of sons. The coven- 
ant of grace not only frees us from the doom of criminals, 
but advanceth us to the dignity of children ; Christ redeem- 
ed us from the curse of the law, in order to this, that ** we 
might receive the adoption of sons." The children's bread 
given us in this ordinance is, as it were^ livery and sasin^p 


to assure us of our adoption upon the terms of the Gospel, 
that if we will take God in Christ to be to us a Father, to 
rule and dispose of us, and to be feared and honoured by 
OS, he will take us to be his sons and daughters. " Behold 
what manner of love is this!" Be astonished, O heavens,, 
and wonder, O earth ! Never was there such compassion- 
ate, such condescending love ! God here seals us the grant 
both of the privileges of adoption, and the spirit of adopticm 

Here is a grant of the privileges of adoption sealed to us 
Here we are called the children of God, and he calls him- 
self our Father, and encourages us to call himself so 
*•' Seemeth it to you a light thing," saith David, '' to be a 
king's son-in-law, seeing I am a poor man, and lightly es- 
teemed 1" And shall it not seem to us a great thing, an 
honour infinitely above all those which the world can pre- 
tend to confer, for us who are worms of the earth, and a 
generation of vipers, children of disobedience and wrath by 
nature, to be the adopted children of the King of kings ? 
'^ This honour have all the saints." Nor is it an empty ti- 
tle that is here granted us, but real advantages of unspeak- 
able value. 

The eternal God here saith it, and seals it to every true 
believer, Fear not, I will be a father to thee, an ever loving, 
ever living father ; leave it to me to provide for thee ; on 
me let all thy burdens be cast ; with me let all thy cares 
be left, and to me let all thy requests be made known ; " the 
young lions shall lack and suffer hunger," but thou shall 
want nothing that is good for thee, nothing that is fit for 
thee ; my wisdom shall be thy guide, my power thy sup- 
port, and *' underneath thee the everlasting arms. As thcf 
tender father pities his children, so will I pity thee, and" 
spare thee as a man spareth his son that serves him." 
Thou shalt have my blessing and love, the smiles of my 
face, and the kisses of my mouth, and in the arms of my 
grace will I carry thee, to glory, as the nursing father doth 
the sucking child. Doth any thing grieve thee? Whither 
shouldst thou go with thy complaint but to thy father 1 say- 
ing to him as that child, " My head, my head ; and thou 
shalt find that as one whom his mother comforteth, so will 
the Lord thy God comfort thee." Doth any thing terrify 
thee ? " Be not afraid, for I am thy God ; when thou pas- 


seth through the rivers I will be with thee ; and through the 
waters, they shall not overflow thee." Art thou in doubt ? 
Consult me, and " I will instruct thee in the way that 
thou ^houldst go, I will guide thee with mine eye." Ac- 
knowledge me, and I will direct thy steps. Dost thou of- 
fend ? Is there foolishness bound up in thy heart ? Thou 
must expect fatherly correction : " I will chasten thee with 
the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men ; 
but my loving kindness will I not utterly take from thee ;" 
thine afflictions shall not only consist with, but flow from 
covenant love ; and but for a season, when need is, shalt 
thou be in heaviness. 

" I will be a father to thee ; and, son, thou shalt be ever 
with me, and all that I have is thine ; whether Paul, or 
Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things 
present, or things to come, all are thine," as far as is ne- 
cessary to thine happiness ; nor shall any thing ever be able 
to separate thee from my love. I will be a father to thee, 
and then Christ shall be thy elder brother, the prophet, 
priest, and king of the family, as the flrst-born among many 
brethren. Angels shall be thy guard ; with the greatest 
care and tenderness shall they bear thee up in their arms,. 
fts ministering spirits charged to attend the heirs of salva- 

Providence shall be thy protector, and the disposer of ail 
thine aflairs for the best ; so that whatever happens, thou 
mayest be sure it shall be made to work for thy good, though 
as yet thou canst not see how or which way. The assuran- 
ces of thy father's love to thee in his promises and commu- 
nion with him in his ordinances, shall be thy daily bread, 
thy continual feast, the manna that shall be rained upon 
thee, the water out of the rock that shall follow thee in this 
wilderness, till thou come to Canaan. 

Now art thou a child of God, but it doth not yet appear 
what thou shalt be. When you was predestinated to the 
adoption of sons, you was designed for the inheritance of 
sons ; if a child, then an heir. Thy present maintenance 
shall be honourable, and comfortable; and such as is fit for 
thee in thy minority, while thou art under tutors and go- 
Ternors ; but what is now laid out upon thee is nothing, 
iii comparison with what is laid up for thee ; an inheri- 


tance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fades not away. 
If God be thy father, no less than a crown, a kingdom 
shall be thy portion, and heaven thy home, where thou 
shalt be for ever with him. In thy Father's house there 
are many mansions, and one for thee, if thou be his duti- 
ful child. It is thy Father's good pleasure to give thee 
the kingdom. 

Here is a grant of the Spirit of adoption sealed to us. 
As the giving of Christ for us was the great promise of the 
Old Testament, which was fulfilled in the fulness of time ; 
so the giving of the Spirit to us is the great promise of the 
New Testament, and a promise that is sure to all the seed : 
this promise of the Father, which we have heard of Christ, 
we in this ordinance wait for, and it follows upon the for- 
mer ; for wherever God gives the privileges of children, he 
will give the nature and disposition of children ; regenera- 
tion always attends adoption, " because ye are sons, God 
hath sent forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts." 
Great encouragement we have to ask this gift, firom the re- 
lation of a Father, wherein God stands towards us : if 
earthly parents ** know how to give good gifls to their chil* 
dren," such as are needful and proper, for them, '' much more 
shall our heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them 
that ask him." He will give the Spirit to teach his chil- 
dren, and, as their tutor, to lead them into all truth, to 
govern his children : and, as the best of guardians, to 
dispose their affections, while providence disposeth their 
affairs for the best. His Spirit will renew and sanctiff 
them, and make them meet for his service in this world, 
and his kingdom in a bettter, to be the guide of their way, 
and the witness of their adoption, and to seal them to the 
day of redemption. 

An earnest of this grant of the Spirit to all believers in 
this ordinance, Christ gave, when, in his first visit he made 
to his disciples afler his resurrection, having showed them 
his hands and his side, his pierced hands, his pierced side 
(which in effect he doth to us in this sacrament,) he 
breathed on them, and said unto them, " Receive ye the 
Holy Ghost." What he said to them, he saith to his dis- 
ciples, making them an offer of this inestimable gift, and 
bestowing it effectually on all believers, who are all " sealed 


with that Holy Spirit of promise." Receive theta the 
Holy Ghost, in the receiving of this bread and wine, the 
graces of the Spirit, as bread to strengthen the heart, his 
comfort, as wine to make it glad. Be willing and desirous 
to receive the Holy Ghost, let the soul and all its powers 
be put under his operations and influences : ** Lift up your 
heads, O ye gates, and be lifted up, ye everlasting doors, 
and then this King of Glory shall come in, to all that invite 
him and will bid him welcome. 

" But will God in very deed thus dwell with men, with 
such men upon the earth?" And shall they become temples 
of the Holy Ghost ? Shall he come upon them ? Shall the 
power of the Highest overshadow them ? Shall Christ be 
formed in me a holy thing ? Say then, my soul, say as the 
blessed virgin did, here I am, "be it unto me according 
to thy word." I acknowledge myself unworthy the being 
of a man, having so often acted like a brute, much more 
unworthy the dignity of a son ; I have been an undutiful, 
rebellious prodigal ; I deserve to be turned out of doors, 
abandoned and disinherited, and forbidden my Father^s 
house and table. But who shall set bounds to infinite 
mercy, and to the compassions of the Everlasting Father ? 
If, notwithstanding this, he will yet again take me into his 
family, and clothe me with the best robe, though it is too 
great a favour for me to receive, who am a child of disobe- 
dience ; yet it is not too great for him to give, who is the 
Father of mercies. To thee therefore, O God, I give up 
myself, and I will " from this cry unto thee, my Father, 
thou art the guide of my youth." Though I deserve not 
to be owned as a hired servant, I desire and hope to be 
owned as an adopted son. Be it unto thy servant accord- 
ing to thy promise 1 

3. Here we may receive peace and satisfaction in our 
minds. — This is one of the precious legacies Christ hath 
left to all his followers, and it is here in this ordinance 
paid, or secured to be paid, to all those that are ready and 
willing to receive it : ** Peace I leave with you, my peace 
I give unto you ;" such a peace as the world can neither 
give nor take away. This is the repose of the soul in 
God, our reconciliation to ourselves, arising from the sense 
of our reconciliation to God, the conscience being thus 


fully purged from dead works, which not only defile but 
disturb and disquiet us. When the ** Spirit is poured out 
on high, then the work of righteousness is peace, and the 
effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever." 
The guilt of sin lays the foundation of trouble and uneasi- 
ness ; where that is removed by pardoning mercy, there is 
ground fbr peace ; but there must be a farther act of the 
divine grace to put us in the actual possession of that 
peace ; when he who alone can open the ear to comfort, as 
well as discipline, makes us to hear joy and gladness, then 
the storm ceaseth, and there is a calm. The mind that 
was disturbed with the dread of God's wrath, is quieted 
with the tokens of his favour and love. 

This we should have in our eye at the Lords table : 
here I am waiting to hear what God the Lord will speak, 
and hoping that he, who speaks peace to his people and to 
his saints, will speak that peace to me who make it the top 
of my ambition to answer the character, and have the lot 
of his people and saints. This peace we may here ex- 
pect to receive for two reasons. 

Because this ordinance is a seal of the promise of peace; 
in it God assures us that his thouorhts towards us are 
thoughts of peace, and then ours towards ourselves may be 
80. We are here among liis people, whom he hath pro- 
mised to bless with peace, and we may apply that promise 
to ourselves, plead it, and humbly claim the benefit of it. 
This is that rest to the soul which our Master hath pro- 
mised to all those that come to him, and take his yoke up- 
on them, and this promise, among the rest, is here ratified, 
as yea and amen in Christ. 

The covenant of grace is indeed a covenant of peace, 
in the ever blessed soil of which "light is sown for the 
righteous and gladness for the upright in heart." And 
this covenant of peace is that which eternal truth hath said, 
shall never be removed, but shall stand firm as a rock, when 
the " everlasting mountains shall melt," like wax, and the 
" perpetual hills shall bow." Hath God so far consulted 
my present repose, as well as my future bless, that he hath 
provided not only for the satisfaction of his own justice, 
but for the satisfaction of my conscience ; and shall I in- 
dulge my own disturbance, and refuse to be comforted t 


No ; welcome the promised peace, the calm so long wish* 
ed for, the desired haven of a troubled spirit, tossed with 
tempest. Come, my soul, and take possession of this Ca- 
naan ; hy faith enter into this rest, and let not thine own 
unbelief exclude thee. If the God of peace himself speak 
peace, though with a still small voice, let that silence the 
most noisy and clamorous objections of doubts and fears ; 
and, if he give quietness, let not them make trouble. 

Because this ordinance is an instituted means of obtain- 
ing the peace promised. As the sacrifice was ordained to 
make atonement for the soul, so the feast upon the sacri- 
fice was intended for the satisfaction of the soul, concern- 
ing the atonement made, to remove that amazement and 
terror which arose from the consciousness of guilt. This 
ordinance is a feast appointed for that purpose. God doth 
here not only assure us of the truth of his promise to us, 
but gives us an opportunity of solemnizing our engage- 
ments to him, and sealing to be his, which is appointed not 
to satisfy him (he that knows all things, knows if we love 
him,) but to satisfy ourselves, that, thus taking hold of the 
hope set before us, we may have strong consolation. The 
blood of Christ is in this ordinance sprinkled upon the 
conscience, to pacify that, having been already sprinkled 
upon the mercy seat, to make atonement there, so making 
the comers thereunto perfect. 

When the Lord Jesus appeared to his disciples afler 
his resurrection, the first word he said to them was *' Peace 
be unto you ;'* and he saith the same to us in this ordi- 
nance. Peace be unto this house, peace to this heart. But 
the disciples of Christ, like those that are apt to be terri- 
fied " and affirighted, supposing that they had seen a spi- 
rit," or apparition, fearing that it is but all a delusion, it 
is too good news to be true ; what have they to do with 
peace, think they, while their corruptions, follies, and in- 
firmities are so many ? But Christ, by this sacrament, 
checks those fears ; as these, *^ Why are ye troubled ; and 
why do thoughts arise in your hearts ? Behold my hands 
and my feet 1" There is that in the marks of the nails, 
which is sufficient to stop the mouth of unbelief, and to 
heal the wounds of a broken and contrite spirit. There is 
merit enough in Christ, though in us there is nothing but 


meanness and unworthiness. Such considerations this c^- 
dinance offers as has often been found effectual, by the 
grace of God, to create the fruit of the lips, peace, and to 
restore comfort to the mourners. In it Christ saith again, 
^ Peace be unto you/' as he did unto the disciples. And 
sometimes a mighty power had gone along with that word 
to lay a storm, as it did with that, (Mark iv. 39.) Peace, 
be still ; so that the soul so calmed, so quieted, hath gone 
away, and said with wonder, *' What manner of man is 
this, for even the winds and the seas obey him 1" 

4. Here we may receive supplies of grace. — Jesus Christ 
is, m this ordinance, made of God, to all believers, not only 
righteousness, but sanctification ; so we must receive him ; 
and having received him, so we must walk in him. It is 
certain we have as much need of the influences of the 
Spirit to furnish us for our duties, as we have of the merit 
of Christ to atone for our sins ; and as much need of di- 
vine grace, to carry on the good work, as to begin it. We 
are in ourselves not only ungodly, but without strength, 
impotent in that which is good, and inclined to that which 
is evil ; and, in the Lord alone have we both righteous- 
ness and strength. If, therefore, we have it in him, hither 
we must come, to have it from him ; for gospel ordinances, 
and this particularly, are the means of grace, and the or- 
dinary vehicle in which grace is conveyed to the souls of 
believers. Though God is not tied to them, we are, and 
tnust attend with an expectation to receive grace from God 
by them, and an entire submission of soul to the operation 
and conduct of that grace. This ordinance is as the pool 
of Bethesda, which our weak and impotent souls must lie 
down by, waiting for the moving of the waters, as those 
that know there is a healing virtue in them which we may 
experience benefit by, as well as others. Here, therefore, 
we must set ourselves, expecting and desiring the effectual 
workings of God's free grace in us, attending at wisdom's 
gates for wisdom's gifts, and endeavouring to improve the 
ordinance to this end. 

Frv')ra the fulness that is in Jesus Christ, in whom " it 
pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell," we are 
hore waiting to receive grace for grace, that is, " abun- 
dunoe of grace, and of the gift of righteousness." Where 

there is true grace, there is need of more, for the best are 
sanctified but in part ; and there is a desire of more for- 
getting the things which are behind, and reaching forth to 
those which are before, pressing towards perfection ; and 
there is a promise of more, for to him that hath shall be 
given ; and '* he that hath clean hands shall be stronger 
and stronger.'' Therefore, in a sense of our own necessi- 
ties, and a dependence on God's promises, we must bj 
faith receive and apply to ourselves the grace offered us. 
*' What things soever we desire," according to the will of 
God, " if we believe that we receive them," our Saviour 
hath told us, *^ we shall have them." According to thy 
faith, be it unto thee. 

Reach forth a hand of faith, therefore, and receive the 
promised grace, both for the confirming of gracious habits^ 
and for the quickening of gracious acts. 

1st, Let us here receive grace for the confirming of gra- 
cious habits, that they may be more deeply rooted. We 
are conscious to ourselves of great weakness in grace : it 
is like a grain of mustard seed, as a bruised reed, and 
smoking flax ; we are weak in our knowledge, an^ apt to 
mistake ; weak in our affections, and apt to cool ; weak in 
our resolutions, and apt to waver. How weak is my heart ! 
But here is bread that strengthens man's heart, signifying 
that grace of God, which confirms the principles, and in- 
vigorates the powers of the spiritual and divine life in the 
souls of the faithful. Come, my soul, come eat of thi^ 
bread, and it shall strengthen thee : though perhaps thou 
mayest not be immediately sensible of this strength re<- 
ceived, the improvement of habits is not suddenly discern- 
ed ; yet, through this grace, thou shalt find hereafter, that 
thy path hath been like the shining light, which shineth 
more and more. 

We find there is much lacking in our faith, in our love, 
in every grace ; here, therefore, we must desire and hope, 
and prepare to receive from Christ such gifls of the Holy 
Ghost as will be mighty, through God, to increase our 
faith, that its discoveries of divine things may be more 
clear and distinct, and its assurances of the truth of them 
more certain and confident ; that its consent to the cove- 
nant may be more firee and resolved, and its complacency 


in the covenant more sweet and delightful. And that 
which thus increaseth our faith will be effectual to inflame 
our love, and make that strong as death in its desires to- 
wards God, and resolutions for him. ^e must here wait 
to be strengthened with all might, by his Spirit in the in- 
ner man, unto all patience in suffering for him, and dili- 
gence in doing for him, and both with joy fulness. We 
here put ourselves under the happy influence of that great 
and glorious power, which worketh taightily in them that 

2d, Let ns here receive grace for the quickening of gra- 
<HOus acts, that they may be more strongly exerted : we 
come to this throne of grace, this mercy seat, this table of 
our God, that here we may not only obtain mercy to par- 
don, but may find " grace to help in every time of need," 
grace to excite us, to direct us in, and thoroughly furnish 
us for every good word and work, according as the duty of 
every day requires. It was a very encouraging word which 
Christ said' to Paul, when he prayed for the removal of that 
messenger of Satan which was sent to buffet him : " My 
grace is sufficient for thee ;" and all true believers may 
take the comfort of it : what was said to him is said to 
every person, whatever the exigence of the case is ; they 
that commit themselves to the grace of God, with a sin- 
cere resolution, in every thing to submit to the conduct and 
government of that grace, shall be enabled to do all things, 
through Christ strengthening them. 

3d, Let a lively faith here descend to particulars, and 
receive this grace with application to the various occur- 
rences of the Christian life. When I go about any duty 
of solemn worship, I find I am not sufficient of myself for 
it, not so much as to think one good thought of myself, much 
less such a chain of good thoughts as is necessary to an ac- 
ceptable prayer, to the profitable reading and hearing of 
the word, and the right sanctiflcation of a Lord's day ; but 
all our sufficiency for these services is of God, and of his 
grace. That grace I here receive according to the pro- 
mise, and will always go forth, and go on in the strength 
of it. 

When an opportunity offers itself of doing good to oth- 
ers, to their bodies, by relieving]their necessities, or contri- 


buting any way to their comf(Nt and support; or to thek 
souls by seasonable adTioe^ instruction, reproof^ or other 
good ducourse ;. we must depend on this grace for ability 
lo do it prudently, faithfully, and successfully, and so as to 
be accepted of God in it. I find I want wisdom for these 
and such like services, and for the ordering of all my ^S- 
hita ; and whither shall I go for it but to wisdom's feasts^ 
whose preparations are not only good for food, and pleasant 
to the eye, but greatly to be desired to make one wise. 
Here therefore I receive ** Christ Jesus the Lord, as made 
of €k)d unto me wisdom ;" wisdom dwelling with prudence ; 
wisdom to understand my way, that wisdom which in every 
^ioubtful case is profitable to diirect. Having many a time 
prayed Solomon's prayer, for a wise and understanding 
heart, I here receive the sealed grant in answer to it : 
*' wisdom and knowledge are given thee," so much as shall 
be sufficient for thee in thy place and station, to guide thee 
in glorifying GKkI, so as that thou mayest not come short of 
enjoying him. 

When we are assaulted with temptations to sin, we find 
how weak and ineffectual our resistance hath often been ; 
here, therefore, we receive grace to fortify us against all 
those assaults, that we may not be foiled and overcome by 
them. All that in this sacrament list themselves under the 
banner of the Captain of our salvation, and engage them- 
selves as his fiiithful soldiers in a holy war against the world, 
the flesh, and the devil, may here be fiirnished with the 
whole armour of God, and that power of his might, as it is 
called, wherewith they shall be able to stand and withstand 
in the evil day. I now receive fi'om God and his grace, 
strength against such a sin that hath oil prevailed over me, 
such temptation that hath oil been too hard for me ; " now 
therefore, O God, strengthen thy hands." Through God I 
ehall do valiantly. 

When we are burdened with affliction, we find it hard to 
bear up : we faint in the day of adversity, which is a sign 
oar strength is small ; we grieve too much, and are full of 
fears in a day of trouble, our hearts many a time are ready 
to fail us ; hither therefore we come to receive grace suffi* 
cient for our support under the calamities of this present 
time, that, whatever we lose, we may not lose our comfort, 


ind whatever we saffer we may not sink. Grace to enable 
U8^ whatever happens, to keep possession of our own soois, 
by keeping up our hq>e and joy in God ; that, when flesh 
and heart fiul^ we may find God the strength of heart ; and 
if he be so/' as the day is, so shall thy strength be." Such 
assurances are here given to all believers of Grod's presence 
with them in all their afflictions, and the concurrence of all 
fi>r their good, that, being thus encouraged, they have all 
the reason in the world to say. Welcome the will of God ; 
nothing can come amiss. 

We know not how we may be called on to bear our tes- 
timony to the truths and ways of God in suffering for right- 
eousness' sake ; we are bid to count upon them, and to (nre- 
pare for them. We must in this ordinance faiUifiilly prom- 
ise, that however we may be tried, we will never forsake 
Christ, nor turn from following after him ; though we should 
die with him, yet will we not deny him. But we have no 
reason to confide in any strength of our own, for the ma- 
king good of this promise ; nor can we pretend to such a 
degree of resolution, steadiness, and presence of mind, as 
will enable us to encounter the difficulties we may meet 
with. Peter, when he shamed himself, warned us to take 
heed lest we fall, when we think we stand. Here, there- 
fore, we must receive strength for such trials, that we may 
overcome them by the blood of the Lamb, and by not ]ov>- 
ing our lives unto the death, and that the prospect of none 
of these things may move us. 

4th, How near our great change may be we cannot tell, 
perhaps nearer than we imagine : we are not sure that we 
shall live to see another opportunity of this kind ; but this 
we are sure of, that it is a serious thing to die : it is a work 
we never did, and when we come to do it, we shall need ft 
strength we never had. In this sacrament, therefore, from 
the death of Christ, we must fetch in grace to prepare us 
ibr death, and to carry us safely and comfortably through 
that dark and dismal valley. . I depend not only on tBe 
providence of God, to order the circumstances of my re* 
moval hence for the best to me, but upon the grace of God 
to take out the sting of death, and then to reconcile me to 
the stroke of death, and to enable me to meet death's har- 
binger, and bear its agonies, not only with the omataiMy 


and patSeace that becomes a wise man, but with the hope 
and joy that becomes a good Christian. 

5. Here we may receive the earnests of eternal bliss and. 
joy. — Heaven is the crown and centre of all the promises, 
and the perfection of all the good contained in them ; all 
the blessings of the new covenant have a tendency to this, 
and are in order to it. Are we predestinated ? It is to 
the inheritance of sons. Called ? It is to his kingdom 
and glory. Sanctified ? It is that we may be made meet 
for the inheritance, and wrought to the sel^^ame thing. 
This, therefore, we should have in our eye, in our coven- 
ant and communion with Grod ; that eternal life which God 
that cannot lie promtseth. We must receive the Spirit in 
his graces and comforts, as the earnest of our inheritance. 
They that deal with God, must deal upon tnist, for a hap- 
piness in reversion, a recompense of reward to come ; must 
forsake the world in sight and present, for a world out of 
sight and future. All believers consent to this ; they lay 
up their treasure in heaven, and hope for what they see 
not. This they depend upon ; and in prospect of it they 
are willing to labour and suffer, to deny themselves, and 
take up their cross, knowing that heaven will make amends 
for all : though they may be losers for Christ, they shall not 
be losers by him in the end ; this is the bargain. In the 
Lord's supper Christ gives us earnest upon this bargain, and 
what we receive there, we receive as earnest. An earnest 
not only confirms the bargain and secures the performance 
of it, but is itself part of payment, though but a small part 
in comparison with the full sum^ 

We here receive the earnest of our inheritance ; that is, 
We here receive the assurance of it. The royal grant 
of it is here sealed and delivered by the King of kings. 
God here saith to me as he did to Abraham, ^* Lifl up thine 
•yes now, and look from the place where thou art." Take 
a view of the heavenly Canaan, that land which' eternally 
flows with better things than milk and honey, — Immanuers 
land. Open an eye of faith, and behold the pleasures and 
glories of that world, as they are described in Scripture, 
such as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard ; and know of a 
surety that all the land which thou seest, and that which is 
infinitely more and better than thou canst conceive^ to thee 


will I give it, to thee forever. " Fear not, littlfe flock," 
fear not ye little ones of the flock, *' it is your Father's good 
pleasure to give you the kingdom." Follow Christ and 
serve him, and you shall be for ever with him ; continue 
with him now in his temptations, and you shall shortly 
share with him in his glories. Only be faithful unto death, 
and the crown of life is as sure to you, as if it were already 
upon your heads. Here is livery and sasine upon the deed. 
Take this and eat it, take this and drink it : in token of 
this, '' I will be to thee a God ;" that is, a perfect and ev- 
erlasting happiness, such as shall answer the vast extent 
and compass of that great word. *' But now they desire 
a better country, that is, a heavenly : wherefore God is not 
ashamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for 
them a city." 

Come now, my soul, and accept the security offered. 
The inheritance secured is unspeakably rich and invalua^ 
ble ; the losses and sufferings of this present time are not 
worthy to be compared with it ; the title is good, it is a 
purchased possession, he that grants it hath power over all 
flesh, that he should give eternal life. The assurances are 
unquestionably valid, not only the word and oath, but the 
writing and seal of the eternal God, in the Scriptures and 
sacraments : here is that, my soul, which thou may est ven- 
ture thyself upon, and venture thine all for; do it then, do 
it with a holy boldness. Lay hold on eternal life, lay fast 
hold on it, and keep thy hold. Look up, my soul, look as 
high as heaven, the highest heaven ; look forward my soul, 
look as far forward as eternity, and let eternal life, eternal 
joy, eternal glory, be thine aim in thy religion, and resolve 
to take up with nothing short of these. God hath been 
willing more abundantly to show to the heirs of promise 
the immutability of his counsel, and therefore hath thus 
confirmed it, so as to leave no room for doubting, that by 
all these ^' immutable things, in which it is impossible for 
God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have 
fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us." 
Take him at his word then, and build thy hope upon it. 
Be not faithless, but believing; be not careless, but indus- 
trious. Here is a happiness worth striving for ; " run with 
patience the race that is set before us," with this prize in 
thine eye. , 


We receive the foretastes of it. — We have in this ordi- 
nance^ not only a ratification of the promise of the heaven- 
ly Canaan, but a pattern or specimen given us of the fruits 
of that land, like the bunch of grapes which was brought 
from the valley of Eshcol to the Israelites in the wilder- 
ness ; a view given us of that land of promise, like that 
which Moses had of the land of Canaan from the top of 
Pisgah. As the law was a type and figure of the Messiah's 
kingdopi on earth, so the gospel is of this kingdom in 
heaven ; both are as " shadows of good things to come,** 
like the map of a rich and large country in a sheet of paper- 
Our future happiness is, in this sacrament, not only sealed 
to us, but shown to us ; and we here taste something of 
the pleasures of that better country. In this ordinance we 
have a sight of Christ, he is evidently set forth before us ; 
and what is heaven, but to see him as he is, and to be forever 
beholding his glory ? We are here receiving the pledges 
and tokens of Christ's love to us, and returning the protes- 
tations and expressions of our love to him ; and what is 
heaven but an eternal interchanging of love between a 
holy God and holy souls? We are here praising and bless- 
ing the Redeemer, celebrating his honour, and giving him 
•the glory of his achievements ; and what is that but the 
work of heaven ? It is what the inhabitants of that world 
are doing now, and what we hope to be doing with them 
to eternity. We are here in spiritual communion with all 
the saints coming in faith, hope, and love to the general 
assembly and church of the first-born ; and what is heaven 
but that in perfection ? In a word, heaven is a feast, and 
so is this ; only this is a running banquet, that is an ever- 
lasting feast. 

Came, my soul, and see a door here opened in heaven ; 
look in at that door now, by which thou hopest to enter 
shortly. Let this ordinance do something of the work of 
heaven upon thee, God having provided in it something of 
the pleasures of heaven for thee. Heaven will for ever 
part between thee and sin ; let this ordinance, therefore, 
set thee at a greater distance from it. Heaven will fill 
thee with the love of God ; in this ordinance, therefore, 
let that love be shed abroad in thine heart. In heaven 
tliou shalt enter into the joy of thy Lord; let that joy now 


enter into thee, and be thy strength and thy song. Hea- 
ven will be perfect holiness ; let this ordinance make thee 
more holy, and more conformable to the image of the holy 
Jesus ; heaven will be everlasting rest ; here, therefore, re- 
turn to God as thy rest, O my soul, and repose thyself in 
him. Let every sacrament be to thee a heaven upon 
earth, and each of these days of the Son of man, as one of 
the days of heaven. 





WoNDERous sights are here to be seen where the Lord's 
death is shown forth ; precious benefits are here to be had, 
where the covenant of grace is sealed ; the transaction is 
very solemn, very serious, nothing more so on this side 
death. But what impressions must be made hereby upon 
oiir souls? How must we stand affected while this is 
doing ? Is this service only a show, at which we may be 
unconcerned spectators ? Or is it a market-place, in which 
we may stand all the day idle ? No, by no means ; here is 
work to be done, heart- work, such as requires, a very close 
application of mind, and a great liveliness and vigour of 
spirit, and in which all that is within us should be em- 
ployed, and all little enough. Here is that to be done 
which calls for fixed thoughts and warm affections, which 
needs them, and well deserves them. What sensible mov- 
ings of affection we should aim at, is not easy to direct ; tem- 
pers vary ; some are soon moved, and much moved with 
every thing that affects them : from such it may be ex- 
pected that their passions, which are strong at other times, 
should not be weak at this ordinance; and yet, no doubt,there 
are others whose natural temper is happily more calm and 
sedate, that are not conscious to themselves of such stirring 
of affections as some experience at this ordinance, and yet 
have as comfortable communion with God, as good evidence 
of the truth and growth of grace, and as much real benefit 
by the ordinance, as those that think themselves even 
transported by it. The deepest rivers are scarce perceived 
to move, and make the least noise. On the other hand, 
there may be much heat where there is little light,, and 
strong passions where there are very weak resolutions. 
Like the waters of a land flood, which make a great show, 
but are shaltow and soon gone : we must not, therefore^ 

build a good opinion of our spiritual state upon tbe vebi» 
meDce of our affection. A romance may represent a tra- 
gical story so pathetically, as to make a great impression 
upon the minds of some, who yet know the whole matter 
to be both feigned and foreign ; bodily exercise, if that be 
all, profits^little. And, on the other hand, there may be a 
true and strong faith, informing the judgment, bowing the 
will, and commanding the affections, and purifying the 
heart and life, where yet there are not any transports, or 
pathetical expressions. There may be true joy, where the 
mouth is not filled with laughter, nor the tongue with 
singing ; and true sorrow where yet the eye doth not run 
down with tears. They whose hearts are firmly fixed for 
God, may take the comfort of that, though they do not find 
their hearts sensibly flowing out towards him. 

And yet in this sacrament, where it is designed that the 
eye should affect the heart, we must not rest in the bare 
contemplation of what is here set before us, but the con- 
sideration thereof must make an impression upon our 
spirits, which should be turned as wax to the seal. If 
what is here done do not affect us for the present, it will 
not be likely to influence us aflerwards ; for we retain the 
remembrance of things better by our affections, than by 
our notions : "I shall never ibrget thy precepts, when by 
them thou hast quickened me." Here, therefore, let us 
stir up the gifl that is in us, endeavouring to affect our- 
selves with the great things of God and our souls ; and let 
us pray to God to affect us with them by his Spirit and 
grace, and to testify his acceptance of the sacrifice of a de- 
voted heart, which we are to offer, by kindling it with this 
holy fire from heaven. "Awake, O north wind! and 
come thou south, and blow upon my garden." Come, 
thou blessed Spirit, and move upon these waters, these 
dead waters, to set them a-moving in rivers of living wa- 
ter : come and breathe upon these dry bones, that they 
may live. O that I might now be in the mount with 
God 1 That I might be so taken up with the things of the 
Spirit, and the other world, that for the time. 1 may even 
forget that I am yet in the body, and in this world ! O 
that I might now be soaring upwards, upwards towards God^ 
pressing forwards^ forwards towards hea?en^a0 one aoi 


slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, 
for here it is no time to trifle ! 

Let us then see, in some particulars, how we should be 
affected, when we are attending on the Lord in this solem- 
nity, and in what channels these waters of the sanctuary 
should run, that we may take our work before us, and ap- 
ply our minds to the consideration of those things that are 
proper to excite those afiections. 

1. Here we must be sorrowful for sin, after a godly sort, 
and blushing before God at the thought of it. Penitential 
grief and shame are not at all unsuitable to this ordinance, 
though it is intended for our joy and honour, but excellent 
preparatives for the benefit and comfort of it. Here we 
should be, like Ephraim, bemoaning ourselves ; like Job, 
abhorring ourselves, renewing those sorrowful reflections 
we made upon our own follies, when we were preparing 
for this service, and keeping the fountain of repentance 
still open, still flowing. Our sorrow for sin needs not hin- 
der our joy in God, and therefore our joy in God must not 
forbid our sorrow for sin. 

Our near approach to God in this ordinance, should ex- 
cite and increase our holy shame and sorrow. When we 
see what an honour we are advanced to, what a favour we 
are admitted to, it is seasonable to reflect upon our own 
un worthiness, by reason of the guilt of sin, to draw near to 
God. A man's deformity and defilement is never such a 
mortification to him, as when he comes into the presence 
of those that are comely, clean, and fashionable ; and when 
we are conscious to ourselves, that we have dealt basely 
and disingenuously with one we are under the highest obli- 
gations to love and honour, an interview with the person 
offended cannot but renew our grief. 

I am here drawing nigh to God, not only treading his 
courts with Christians at large, but sitting down at his ta- 
ble with select disciples ; but when I consider how pure 
and holy he is, and how vile and sinful I am, I am ashamed, 
and blush to lift up my face before him. To me belongs 
shame and confiision of face. I have many a time heard of 
God by the hearing of the ear, but now, how am I taken 
to sit down with him at his table ? Mine eyes see him, 
seOrthe King in his beauty ; wherefore I abhor myself, an(| 


repent io dust and ashes. — ^What a fool, what a wretcn 
have I been, to offend a God who appears so holy in the 
eyes of all who draw nigh unto him, and so great to aU them 
that are about him ? Wo is me, for I am undone, lost and 
undone for ever, if there were not a Mediator between me 
and Crod, because I am a man of unclean lips, and an un- 
clean heart. Now I perceive it, and my own degeneracy 
and danger by reason of it, for mine eyes have seen the 
King, the Lord of hosts. I have reason to be ashamed to 
see one to whom I am so unlike, and afraid to see one to 
whom I am so obnoxious. The higher we are advanced 
by the free grace of Grod, the more reason we shall see to 
abase ourselves, and cry, €rod be merciful to us, sinners ! 

A sight of Christ crucified should increase, excite our 
penitential shame and sorrow ; and that evangelical repent- 
ance, in which there is an eye to the cross of Christ. It 
is prophesied, nay, it is promised, as a blessed effect of the 
pouring out of the Spirit, in gospel times, '* upon the house 
of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that they shall 
look on him whom they have pierced, and shall mourn." 
Here we see Christ pierced for our sins, nay, pierced by 
our sins : our sins were the cause of his death, and the 
grief of his heart. The Jews and Romans crucified Christ ; 
but, as David killed Uriah with his letter, and Ahab killed 
Naboth with his seal ; so the hand-writing that was against 
us for our sins, nailed Christ to the cross, and so he nailed 
it to the cross. We had eaten the sour grapes, and his 
teeth were set on edge. Can we see him thus suffering 
for us, and shall we not suffer with him ? Was he in such 
pain for us, and shall not we be in pain for him ? Was his 
soul exceeding sorrowful, even unto death, and shall not 
ours be exceeding sorrowful, when that is the way to life ? 
Come, my soul, see by faith, the holy Jesus made sin for 
thee ; the glory of heaven made a reproach of men for thee ; 
his Father's joy made a man of sorrows for thy transgres- 
sions ; see thy sins burdening him when he sweat, spitting 
upon him, and buff<='ting him, and putting him to open 
shame ; crowning him with thorns, and piercing his hands 
and his side ; and let this melt and break this hard and 
rocky heart of thine, and dissolve it into tears of godly sor- 
row. Look on Christ dying j and weep not for him, (though 


they who have any thing of ingenuity and good-nature, will 
i^ reason enough to weep for an innocent sufferer,) but 
weep for thyself, and thine own sins ; for them be in bit* 
terness, as one that is in bitterness for an only son. 

Add to this, that our sins have not only pierced h^m, as 
they were the cause of his death, but as they have been the 
reproach of his holy name, and the grief of his holy Spirit. 
Thus we have crucified him afresh, by doing that which he 
has often declared to be a vexation and dishonour to him, 
as far as the joys and glories of his presqnt state can admit. 
The consideration of this should greatly humble us ; noth- 
ing goes nearer to the quick with a true penitent, nor touch- 
es him in a more tender part than this : " They shall re- 
member me among the nations whither they shall be car- 
ried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, 
which hath departed from me." A strange expression, 
that the great God should reckon himself broken by the 
sins of his people ! No wonder it follows, they *' shall 
loathe themselves for the evils which they have committed." 
Can we look upon an humbled broken Christ, with an un- 
humbled broken heart ? Do our sins grieve him, and shall 
they not grieve us ? Come, my soul, and sit down by the 
cross of Christ, as a true mourner ; let it make thee weep 
to see him weep, and bleed to see him bleed. That heart 
is frozen indeed, which these considerations will not thaw. 

The gracious offer here made us, of peace and pardon, 
should excite and increase our godly sorrow and shame. 
This is a gospel motive : " Repent, for the kingdom of 
heaven is at hand ;" that is, the promise of pardon upon 
repentance is published and sealed, and whoever will, may 
come and take the benefit of it. The terrors of the law are 
of use to startle us, and put us into a horror for sin, as those 
that are afraid of God ; but the grace of the gospel contri- 
butes more to an ingenuous repentance, and makes us more 
ashamed of ourselves This rends the heart, to consider 
God so gracious and merciful, so slow to anger, and ready 
to forgive. Let this loving-kindness melt thee, O my soul ! 
and make thee to relent more tenderly than ever. Wretch 
that I have been, to spit in the face, and spurn at the bow 
els of such mercy and love, by my wilful sin ! To despise 
the riches of gospel grace ! I am ashamed, yea. even con- 


founded, because I do bear the reproach of my youth. 
Doth God meet thee thus, with terms of reconciliation l 
Doth the party offended make the first motion of an agree- 
ment ? Shall such an undutiful, disobedient, prodigal son 
as I have been, be embraced and kissed, and clothed with 
the best robe? This kindness overcomes me. Now, it 
cuts me to the heart, and humbles me to the dust, to think 
of my former rebellions; they never appeared so heinous, 
so vile, as they do, now I see them pardoned. The more 
certain I am that I shall not be ruined by them, the more 
reason I see to be humbled for them. When God promis- 
ed to establish his covenant with repenting Israel, he adds, 
*' that thou maycst remember, and be confounded, and nev- 
er open thy mouth any more, because of thy shame, when 
I am pacified towards thee." To see God provoked, cau- 
seth a holy trembling ; but to see God pacified, causeth a 
holy blushing. The day of atonement, when the sins of 
Israel were to be sent to a land of forgetfulness, must be a 
day to afflict the soul. The blood of Christ will be the morfe 
healing and comforting to the soul, for its bleeding afresh 
thus upon every remembrance of sin. 

2. Here we must be confiding on Christ Jesus, and re- 
lying on him alone, for life and salvation. When we mourn 
ior sin, blessed be God, we do not sorrow as those that have 
no hope ; true penitents are perplexed, but not in despair ; 
cast down, but not destroyed. Faith in Christ turns even 
their sorrows into joy, gives them their vineyards from 
thence, and even the valley of Achor, (of trouble for sin,) 
for a door of hope. We have not only all-sufficient hap- 
piness to hope for, but an all-sufficient Saviour to hope in. 
Here, therefore, let us exercise and encourage that hope ; 
let us trust in the name of the Lord Jesus, and stay our- 
selves upon him ; come up out of this wilderness, leaning 
upon your beloved. Come, my soul, weary as thou art, and 
rest in Christ ; cast thy burden upon him, and he shall sus- 
tain thee ; commit thy way to him, and thy thoughts shall 
certainly be established ; commit thyself to him, and it shall 
be well with thee ; he will keep through his own name, 
that which thou committest to him. 

Commit thyself to him, as the scholar commits himself 
to his teacher, to be instructed, with a resolution to take 


his word for the truth of what he teacheth ; as the patient 
commits himself to the physician to be cured, with a reso^ 
lution to take whatever he prescribes, and punctually to ob" 
serve his orders ; as the client commits himself to his coun*- 
se\, to draw his plea^ and to bring him off when he is judg- 
ed, with a resolution to do all things as he shall advise ; as 
the traveller commits himself to his guide, to be directed in 
his way, with a resolution to follow his conduct ; as the or- 
phan commits himself to his guardian, to be governed and 
disposed of at his discretion, with a resolution to com^^y 
with him. Thus must we commit ourselves to Christ. 

We must confide in his power, trusting in him as one 
that can help and save us. He hath an incontestable au- 
thority, is a Saviour by office, sanctified and sealed, and 
Bent into the world for this purpose ; help is laid upon him. 
We may well offer to trust him with our part of this great 
concern, which is the securing of our happiness ; for God 
trusted him with his part of it, the securing of his honour, 
and declared himself well pleased in him. He hath like- 
wise an i^iquestionable ability to save to the uttermost ; he 
is mighty to save, and every way qualified for the underta- 
king ; he is skilful, for treasures of wisdom and knowledge 
are hid in him ; he is solvent, for there is in him an inex- 
jhaustible fulness of merit and grace, sufficient to bear all 
our burdens, and to supply all our needs. We must com- 
mit ourselves, and the great affairs of our salvation unto 
him, wiUi a full assurance that he is '' able to keep what 
we commit to him against that day," that great day, which 
will try the foundation of every man's work. We must 
consider him in this promise, trusting in him as one that 
will certainly help and save us, on the terms proposed. 
We may take his word for it^ and this is the word which 
he hath spoken — '^ Him that cometh unto me I will in no- 
wise cast out ;" a double negative, " I will not, no I will 
sot" He is engaged for us in the covenant of redemption, 
^d engaged to us in the covenant of grace, and in both he 
is the Amen, the faithful witness. On this, therefore, we 
must rely, the word on which he hath caused us to hope*. 
God hath spoken in his holiness, that he will accept us in 
the beloved, and in that " I will rejoice ; I will divide Si- 
chem ; Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine." Pardon ili 


fliine, and peace mine, and Christ mine, and heaven mines 
" for faithful is he that promised, who also will do it." 

Come then, my soul, come thou, and all thy concerns, 
into this ark, and there thou shalt be safe when the deluge 
comes ; flee, flee to this city of refuge, and in it thou shalt 
be secured from the avenger of blood. Quit all other 
shelters ; for every thing but Christ is a ^' refuge of lies, 
which the hail will sweep away." There is not salvation 
in any other but in him ; trust him for it therefore, and de- 
pend upon him only. Reach hither thy finger, and, in 
this ordinance, *' behold his hands ; reach hither thy hand, 
and thrust it into his side," and say, as Thomas did, *^ my 
Lord, and my God !" Here I cast anchor, here I rest my 
soul. ''It is Christ that died, yea rather that is risen again, 
and is, and will be the author of eternal salvation to all 
them that obey him." To him I entirely give up myself, to 
be ruled, and taught, and saved by him ; and in him I have 
a full satisfaction. I will draw near to God for mercy and 
grace, in a dependence upon him as my righteousness ; I 
will go forth, and go on, in the way of my duty, in a de> 
pendence upon him as my strength ; I will shortly venture 
into the invisible, unchangeable world, in a dependence 
upon him as the '' captain of my salvation ;" who is able 
to bring many sons to glory, and as willing as he is able. 
^* Lord, I believe ; help thou my unbelief." 

Having thus committed thyself, my soul, to the Lord Je- 
sus, comfort thyself on him. Please thyself with the 
thoughts of having disposed of thyself so well, and of ha- 
ving lodged the great concern of thy salvation in so good a 
hand ; now " return to thy rest, O my soul," and be easy. 
Every good Christian may by faith triumph as the prophet 
doth, pointing at Christ : " The Lord God will help thee, 
therefore shall T not be confounded, therefore have I set 
my face like a flint," in a holy defiance of Satan and all 
the powers of darkness ; *' and I know that I shall not be 
ashamed. He is near that justifieth me, who will contend 
with me ?" 'fake the Bible, turn to the viii. of the Ro- 
mans, and read fi'om verse 3] . to the end of the chapter ; 
if ever blessed Paul rode in a triumphant chariot on this 
side heaven, it was when he wrote these lines, " What 
nhall we then say to these things/' &c. Apply those cooh 


forts to thyself, '' O my soul, thou hast said of the Lord, he 
is my Lord ; rejoice in him then, and be exceeding glad 
Thy redeemer is mighty, and he rides upon the heavens 
for thy help, and in his excellency on the sky — " Do thou 
then ride upon the high places of the earth, and suck ho- 
ney out of this rock, and oil out of this flinty, rock." Ha- 
ving made sure of thy interest in Christ, live in a continu- 
al dependence upon him ; and being satisfied of his love, 
be satisfied with it; thou hast enough, and needest no 

. 3. Here we must be delighting in God, and solacing 
ourselves in his favour. If we had not Christ to hope in, 
being guilty and corrupt, we could not have a God to re- 
joice in ; but, having an advocate with the Father, so good 
a plea as Christ dying, and so good a pleader as Christ in- 
terceding, we may not only *' come boldly to the throne 
of grace, but may sit down under the shadow of it with 
delight, and behold the beauty of the Lord." That God 
who is love, and the God of love, here showeth us his 
*' marvellous loving kindness ; causeth his goodness to 
pass before us ; proclaims his name gracious and merci- 
ful." Here he gives us his love, and thereby invites us 
to give him ours. It is a love feast, the love of Christ is 
here commemorated, the love of God here offered ; and 
the frame of our spirits is disagreeable, and a jar in the 
harmony, if our hearts be not here going out in love to 
God, the chief good, and our felicity. They that come 
hither with holy desires, must refresh themselves here with 
holy delights. ^ " If we must " rejoice in the Lord al- 
ways," much more now ; for a feast was made for laugh^ 
ter, and so was this for spiritual joy ; if ever " wisdom's 
ways be ways of pleasantness," surely they must be so 
when we come to *' eat of her bread, and to drink of the 
wine which she hath mingled." 

Put thyself then, my soul, into a pleasant frame, let the 
joy of thy Lord be thy strength, and let this ordinance 
** put a new song into thy mouth." Come and hear the 
voice of joy and gladness. 

Let it be a pleasure to thee to thinks " that there is a 
God, and that he is such a one as he hath revealed him- 
self to be." The being and attributes of God are a terrcn 


to those that are onjnatified and ansanctified ; nothing^ can 
be more so ; they are willing to belioFe ** there is no God, 
or that he is altogether such a one as themsekes/' becaose 
they heartily wish there were none, or one that they could 
be at peace with, and yet continue their league writh sin : bat 
to tliose who, through grace, partake of a divine nature 
themselves, nothing is more agreeable, nothing more ac* 
ceptable, than the thoughts of God's nature and infinite 
perfections. Delight thyself, therefore, in thinking that 
there is an infinite and eternaJ Spirit, who is self^xistenfc 
and self-sufficient, the best of beings, and the first of 
causes ; the highest of powers, and the richest and kindest 
of fi'iends and benefactors ; the fountain of being and 
fountain of bliss ; the *^ Father of lights, the Fadier of 
mercies.". Love to think of him whom thou canst not see, 
and yet canst not but know ; who is not far firom thee, and 
yet between thee and him there is an infinite, awfiil dis- 
tance. Let these thoughts be thy nourishment and re- 

Let it be a pleasure to thee to think of the obligations 
thou liest under to this God as the Creator. He that is 
the former of my body, and the Father of my spirit, in 
whom I live, and move, and have my being, is, upon that 
account, my rightful owner ; my sovereign ruler, whom I 
am bound to serve. Because he made me, and not I my- 
self; therefore, 1 am not mine own, but his. Please thy* 
self, my soul, with this thought, that thou art not thin« 
own, but his that made thee ; nor lefl to thine own will, but 
bound up by his ; not made for ihyself, but designed to be 
to him for a name and a praise. Noble powers are, then, 
intended for a noble purpose. Delight thyself in him, as 
the felicity and end of thy being, who is the fountain and 
cause of it. Were I to choose, I would not be mine own 
master, mine own carver, mine own centre ; no, I would 
not, it is better as it is. I love to think of the eternal 
God, as the just director of all my actions, to whom I am 
accountable, and the wise disposer of all my affairs, to 
whom I must submit. I love to think of him as my chief 
good, who, having made me, is alone able to make me 
happy ; and as my highest end, ** of whom and through 
whom^ and to whom, are all things." 


. Let it be a pleasure to thee ^' to think of the covenan 
relations wherein this God stands to thee in Jesus Christ." 
This is es{>ecially to be our delight in this sealing ordi- 
nance; though the sacrament directs us immediately to 
Christ, yet through him it leads us to the Father. He 
died, " the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to 
God." To God therefore we must go as our end and rest, 
by Christ as our way ; to God as a Father, by Christ as 
Mediator. Come then, my soul, and see with joy and the 
highest satisfaction, the God that made thee entering into 
covenant with thee, and engaging to make thee happy. 
Hear him saying to thee my soul, " I am thy salvation, 
thy shield," and not only thy bountiful rewarder, but thine 
exceeding great reward ; I am and will be to thee a God 
all sufficient ; a God, that is enough. " Fear thou not, for 
I am with thee," wherever tiiou art ; " be not dismayed, 
for I am thy God ;" whatever thou wantest, whatever thou 
losest, call me God, even thine own God ; when thou art 
weak, I will strengthen thee, yea, wlien thou art helpless 
I will help thee ; yea, when thou art ready to sink, " I 
will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." 
The God that cannot lie hath said, and here seals it to thee, 
" I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." Let this be to 
thee, my soul, the voice of joy and gladness, making even 
broken bones to rejoice. Encourage thyself in the Lord 
thy God. He is thy shepherd, thou shalt not want any 
thing that is good for thee. " Thy Maker is thy husband, 
' the Lord of hosts is his name ;" and, as the bridegroom 
rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. 
He shall rest in his love to thee. Rest then in thy love to 
him, and rejoice in him always. The Lord is thy lawgiver, 
thy king that will save thee. Swear allegiance to him then 
with gladness, and loud hosannas ; " let Israel rejoice in 
him that made him, that new made him ; let the children 
of Zion be joyful in their king." What wouldst thou 
more ? This God is thy God for ever and ever. 

Stir up thyself, my soul, to take the comfort which is 
here offered thee. Let this strengthen the weak hands, 
let it confirm the feeble knees. If God be indeed the 
" health of thy countenance and thy God, why art thou 
cast down, why art thou disquieted ?" Die not for thirst- 


when there is such a fountain of living waters near thee, 
but draw water with joy out of these wells of salvation. 
Shiver not for cold when there is such a reviving, a quick- 
ening heat in these promises, but say with pleasure, -" Ah, 
I am a worm, I have seen the fire." Faint not for hunger^ 
now thou art at a feast of fat things, but be abundantly sat- 
isfied with the goodness of God's house. The God whose * 
wrath and frowns thou hast incurred, here favours thee, 
and smiles on thee ; let this therefore give thee a joy great- 
er than the joy of harvest, and far surpassing what they 
have that divide the spoil. Though thou canst not reach 
to holy raptures, yet compose thyself to a holy rest. De- 
light thyself always in the Lord, especially at this ordi- 
nance, and, by thus taking the comfort of what thou hast 
received, thou qaalifiest thyself to receive more ; for then 
he shall give thee the desire of thy heart. The Avay to 
have thine heart's desire is to make God thy heart's delight. 
Triumph in his love, and thine interest in him ; his be- 
nignity is better than life, let it be to thee sweeter than 
life itself. " Behold God is my Saviour, God is ^my salva- 
tion ; I will trust and not be afraid ; for the Lord Jehovah 
ia my strength, and therefore my song ; the strength of 
my heart and my portion for ever." When you come to 
the altar of God, call him, " God thy exceeding joy" — 
" thy God, thy glory." 

4. Here we must be admiring the mysteries and mira- 
cles of redeeming love. They that worshipped the beast 
are said to wander after him, so must they that Worship 
the Lamb, for he hath done marvellous things. We have 
reason to say that we were fearfully and wonderfully made ; 
but, without doubt, we were more fearftilly and wonderfuUj 
redeemed. We were made with a word, but we were 
bought with a price : stand still then, and see the salvation 
of the Lord, see it with admiration. Affect thyself, my 
soul, with a pleasing wonder, while thou art seeing this 
great sight. The everlasting gospel is here magnified and 
made honourable, let it be so in thine eyes ; call it the 
glorious gospel of the blessed God. Let us take a view of 
some of the marvellous things which are done in the work 
of our redemption. 


]st, The contrivaDCe of the salvation is marvellous — It 
would have for ever puzzled the wisdom of angels and 
men, to have found out such a method of salvation as 
might effectually satisfy God's justice, and yet secure men's 
happiness ; save the life of the law-breaker, and yet main* 
tain the honour of the law-maker. This is that mystery 
which the angels desire to look into, and of which the 
most piercing eye of those inquisitive spirits, that see by 
the light of the upper world, will not be able to eternity to 
discern the bottom. O, the depth of this hidden wisdom ! 

2d, The purpose of God's love concerning it from eternity 
are marvellous. — Be astonished, O my soul, at this, that the 
God who was infinitely happy in the contemplation and en- 
joyment of himself and his own perfections, should yet enter- 
tain thoughts of love towards a remnant of mankind, and 
towards thee amongst the rest, and design such favours for 
them, such favours for thee, before the worlds were! 
** How precious should these thoughts be unto us ! For, 
how great is the sum of them ! 

3d, The choice of the person who should undertake it 
is marvellous ; the Son of his love, that in parting with 
him for us he might commend his love. — The eternal wis- 
dom, the eternal word, that he might effectually accom- 
plish this great design, and might not fail nor be dis- 
couraged. A person every way fit, both to do the Redeem- 
er's work, and to wear the Redeemer's crown. It is 
spoken of as an admirable invention : '' I have found a 
ransom ;" and " I have found David my servant." On 
earth there was not his like, nor in heaven either. 

4th, The Redeemer's consent to the undertaking is raar- 
yellous. — Considering his own dignity and self-sufficiency, 
our unworthiness and obnoxioupness, the difficulty of the 
service, and the ill -requitals he foresaw from an ungrateful 
world, we have reason to admire that he should be so free, 
80 forward to it, and should say, *' Lo, I come : here atn I, 
send me." Never was there su<ih a miracle of love and 
pity ; verily it passeth knowledge. 

5th, The carrying on of his undertaking in his humilia- 
tion is marvellous. — His name was wonderful. His ap- 
pearance in the world, from first to last, was a continued se- 
ries of wonders ; without controversy, great was this myst^y 


of godliness. The bringing of the first begotten into the 
world, was attended with the adorations of wondering angels. 
His doctrine and miracles, while he was in the world, 
were admirable ; they that heard the one, and saw the 
other, were beyond measure astonished. But, bis going 
out of the world was the greatest wonder of all ; it made 
the earth to sha^ke, the rocks to rend, and the sun to cover 
his face. Never was there such a martyr, never such a 
sacrifice, never such a paradox of love as that was. '* God 
forbid that we should glory save in the cross of Christ, 
which is so much the wisdom of God, and the power of 

6th, The honours of this exalted state are marvellous. — 
lie that was made a little lower than the angels, a worm 
and no man, is now the Lord of angels. One in our na- 
ture is advanced to the highest honours, invested with the 
highest powers, having an incontestable authority to exe- 
cute judgment, even for this reason, because he is the son 
of man; not only though he is so, but because he is so. 
This is the Lord's doing, and it is, and should be marvel- 
lous in our eyes. 

7th, The covenant of grace, made also with us in him, 
is marvellous. — The terms of the covenant are wonderful, 
reasonable and easy ; the treasures of the covenant are 
wonderful, rich and valuable. The covenant itself is well 
ordered in all things, and sure ; admirably well, both for 
the glory of God, and the comfort of all believers. God in 
it " showeth us his marvellous loving kindness," and we 
answer not the design of the discovery, if we do not ad- 
mire it. Other things, the more they are known the less 
they are wondered at, but the riches of redeeming love 
appear more admirable to those that are best acquainted 
with them. 

5. Here we must be caring what we shall render to hiiQ 
that hath thus loved us. This wondrous love is love to us^ 
and not only gives the greatest encouragements, to us to 
come to God for mercy and peace, but lays the strongest 
engagements upon us to walk with God in duty and obedi- 
ence. We are bound in conscience, bound in honour, and 
in gratitude, to love him, and to live to him who loved us, 
and died for us. This concern should much affect us^and 


lie very near our hearts, how we may answer the intentions 
of this love. 

We should be affected with a jealous fear, lest we prove 
ungrateful, and, like Hezekiah, '^ render not again, ac* 
cording to the benefit done unto us.'' We cannot but 
know something by sad experience of the treachery and 
deceitfulness of our own hearts, and how apt they are to 
start aside like a broken bow ; and therefore we have no 
reason to presume upon our own strength and sufficiency : 
we are told of many who eat and drink in Christ's pres- 
ence and yet are found at last unfaithful to him ; and what 
if I should prove one of those. This thought is not sug* 
gested here to amuse any that tremble at God's word, or 
to weaken the hands and sadden the hearts of those that 
are truly willing though very weak ; but to awaken those 
that slumber, and humble those that are wise in their own 
conceit. Distrust thyself, O my soul, that thou mayest 
trust in Christ only ; fear thine own strength, that thou 
mayest hope in his. He that hath done these great things 
for thee, must be applied to and depended on to work 
those great things in thee, which are required of thee. 
Go forth, therefore, and go on in his strength. If the same 
that grants us those favours, give us not wherewithal to 
make suitable returns for them, we shall perish for ever in 
our ingratitude. 

We should be filled with serious desires to know and do 
our duty, in return for that great love where with we are 
loved. The affections of a grateful mind are very proper 
to be working in us at this ordinance* Doth not even na- 
ture teach us to be grateful to our friends and benefactors 1 
Let us be so to Christ then, the best of friends, and kindest 
of behefactors. Come, my soul, here I see how much I 
am indebted, and how I owe my life, my joy, and hope, 
and all to the blessed Jesus ; and is it not time to ask with 
holy David, *' What shall I render unto the Lord for all 
his benefits towards me?" Shadl I not take the oup of 
salvation, as he doth, with this thought. What shall I ren- 
der? Let David's answer to that question, which we find 
in the cxvi. Psalm, be mine. 

** I love the Lord." (verse L) Love is the loadstone of 
love; «ven the publicans love those that love them ; Lord, 
. 18 


tbou hast loved me with an eFerlasting love ; fiom ever* 
lasting in the counsels of it, to everlasting in the conse* 
quences of it ; and shall not my heart virith this loving kind- 
ness be drawn to thee ? Lord I love thee ;. the world and 
the flesh shall never have my love more ; I have loved them 
too much, I have loved them too long, the best affections 
of my soul shall now be consecrated to thee, O God ; to 
thee, O blessed Jesus ! " Whom have I in heaven but 
thee 1 Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I 
love thee." It is my sorrow and shame, that I am so weak 
and defective in my love to th^e ; what a wretched heart have 
I, that i can think, and speak, and hear, and see so much 
of thy love to me, and b^ so little affected with it I So 
low in my thoughts of thee, so cool in my desires towards 
thee, so unsteady in my resolutions for thee ! Lord pity 
me. Lord help me, for yet I love thee. I love to love thee. 
I earnestly desire to love thee better, and long to be where 
love shall be made perfect. 

" I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving,'' 
(verse 17.) As love is the heart of praise, so praise is the 
language of love. What shall 1 render ? I must render 
to all their due ; tribute to whom tribute is due ; the tri- 
bute of praise to God, to whom it is due. We do not ac- 
commodate ourselves to this thanksgiving feast, if we do 
not attend it with hearts enlarged in thanksgiving, this cup 
ot salvation must be a cup of blessing, in it we must bless 
God, because in it God blesseth us. Thankful acknow- 
ledgments of God's favours to us are but poor returns for 
rich receivings, yet they are such as God will accept, if 
they come from an upright heart : " bless the Lord, there- 
fore, O my soul, and let all that is within me bless his holy 
name." 8peak well of him who hath done well for thee. 
Thank him for all his gifts both of nature and grace, espe- 
cially for Jesus Christ the spring of all. " As long as I 
live, I will bless the Lord, yea, I will praise my God while 
I have my being ;" for he is the God of my life, and the 
author of my well-being, and, when I have no life, no being 
on earth, 1 hope to have a better life, a better being in a 
better world, and to be doing this work for ever in a better 

" O Lord, truly I am thy servant, I am thy servant," 
(verse 16.) I acknowledge myself already bound to be- so, 


and further oblige myself by solemn promise to approve 
myself so. What shall/ 1 render? Lord I render myself 
to thee, my whole self, body and soul, and spirit, not in 
compliment, but in truth and sincerity ; I own myself thy 
servant, to obey thy commands, to be at thy disposal, and 
to be serviceable to thine honour and interest ; it will be 
my credit and ease, my safety and happiness, to be under 
thy government, make me as one of thy hired servants, 

" I will call upon the name of the Lord," (verse 13.) 
This is an immediate answer to that question, — What shall 
I render? And it is a surprising answer; it is uncommon 
among men to make petitions for further favours, or returns 
for former favours ; yet such a return as this, the God that 
delights to hear prayers, will, be well pleased with. Is 
God my Father ? I will apply myself to him as a child, 
and call him, Abba, Father. Have I an advocate with the 
Father ? Then I will come boldly to the throne of grace. 
Are there such exceeding great and precious promises made 
me, and sealed to me ? Then will I never loss the benefit 
of them for want of putting them in suit. As I will love 
God the better, so I will love prayer the better as long as 
X live ; and having given myself unto God, I will give my- 
palf unto prayer, as David did, till I come to the world of 
jverlasting praise. 

" Return unto thy rest, O my soul," (verse 7.) The 
God who hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servants, 
would have them easy to themselves, and that they can 
never be, but by reposing in him ; this, therefore, we must 
render. It is work that has its o\vn wages : honour Grod 
by resting in him, please him by being well pleased in him. 
Having received so much from him, let us own that we 
have enough in him, and that we can go nowhere but to 
him with any hopes of satisfaction. Lord whither shall 
we go ? He hath the words of eternal life. 

** I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living," 
(verse 9.) A holy. life, though it cannot profit God, yet it 
glorifieth him ; and therefore it is insisted upon as a ne- 
cessary return for the favours we have received fi-om God. 
While I am here in the land of the living, I will walk by 
faith, having mine eyes ever towards the Lord, to see him 
as he reveals himself, hoping, that shortly in that land, 


which is truly the land of the living, above, I shaU walk b^ 
sight, having mine eyes ever upon the Lord, to see him as 
he is. God hath here sealed to be to me a God all suffi- 
cient ; here therefore I seal to him, according to the tenor 
of the covenant, that, his grace enabling me, I will *' walk 
before him and be upright." 

" I will pay my vows unto the Lord," (verse 14, 18.) 
Tlyose that receive the blessings of the covenant, must be 
willing, not only to come, but always to abide under the 
bonds of the covenant. Here we must make vows, and 
then go away and make them good. More of this in the 
ii.ext chapter. 




A RELIGIOUS VOW is R bond upon the soul ; so it is de« 
scribed^ (Num. xxx. 2.) where he that voweth a vow untq 
the Lord, is said thereby to bind his soul with a bond. It 
is a solemn promise, by which we voluntarily oblige our- 
selves to God and duty, as a ** willing people in the day of 
his power." The cords of a man, and bonds of love, 
wherewith God draws us and holds us to himself, call upon 
us by our own act and deed to bind ourselves ; and these 
vows also are cords of a man, for they are highly reasona* 
ble ; and bonds of love, for, to the renewed soul, they are 
an easy yoke, and a light burden. 

From all the other parts of our work at the Lord's ta- 
ble, we may infer, that this is one part of it : we must 
there make solemn vows to God, that we will diligently and 
faithfully serve him. 

We are here to renew our repentance for sin, and it 
becomes penitents to make vows. When we profess our- 
selves sorry for what we have done amiss, it is very natural 
and necessary to add, that '* we will not offend any more, 
as we have done ; if I have done iniquity I will do so no 
more." We mock God when we say, we repent that we 
have done foolishly, if we do not at the same time resolve 
that we will never return again to folly. Times of afflic- 
tion are proper times to make vows ; and what is repent- 
ance but self-affliction 1 Trouble for sin was not the least 
of that trouble* which David was in, when his lips uttered 
those vows which he spoke so feelingly of: '* I will go into 
thy house with burnt offerings ; I will pay thee my vows, 
which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, 
when I was in trouble." Probably it was under this peni- 
tential affliction that he '* sware unto the Lord, and vowed 


OBto the miglitj God of Jftcob, that be would find a place 
ton the ark." Vows against nn, resolting from sorrow fiv 
flin, shall not be reject^ as extorted by the rack, hot gra- 
eioiuly accepted as the genoine language of a broken h^ut, 
and fruits meet for repentance. 

We are here to ask and receire mercy from Grod, and it 
becomes petitioners to make tows. When Jacob foond 
himself in special need of God's gracious presence, he tOw- 
ed a TOW, and set up a stone, for a memorial of it. And 
Hannah, when she prayed for a particular mercy, vowed a 
TOW, that the comfort she prayed for, should be consecrated 
to God. Great and precious things we are here waiting to 
receive from God. and therefore, though we cannot ofkx 
any thing as a valuable consideration for his favours, yet it 
becomes us to promise such suitable returns as we are ca- 
pable of making. When God encourageth us to seek to 
bim for grace, we must engage ourselves not to rejpeive his 
flraee in vain, but to improve and employ for him:what we 
have from him. 

We are here to give God thanks for his favoum to us ; 
now, it becomes us in our thanksgivings to make vouIb, and 
to offer to God, not only the calves of our lips, but the 
work' of our hands. Jonah's mariners, when they offered 
a sacrifice of praise to the Lord, for a calm after a storm, 
as an appendix to that sacrifice, made vows. The most 
acceptable vows are those which take rise from gratitude, 
and which are drawn from us by the mercies of God. Here 
I see what great things God hath done for my soul, and 
what greater things he designs for me ; shall I not therefore 
freely bind myself to that which he hath by such endear- 
ing ties bound me to ? 

We are here to join ourselves to the Lord in an everlast- 
ing covenant. And it is requisite, that our general coven- 
ant be explained and confirmed by particular vows. When 
we present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice, with those 
cords we must bind that sacrifice to the horns of the altar, 
and while we experience in ourselves such a bent to back- 
slide, we shall find all the arts of obligation little enough to 
be used with our own souls. As it is not enough to confess 
sin in the gross, saying, I have sinned, but we must enter 
into the detail of our transgressions, saying, with David, I 


have done this evil ; so it is not .enough in our covenanting 
with God^ that w^ engage ourselves in the general to be his, 
but we must descend to particulars in our covenants, as 
God doth in his commands, that thereby we may the more 
effectually both bind ourselves to duty, and mind ourselves 
of duty. If the pjeople must distinctly say amen to every 
curse pronounced on Mount Ebal, much more to every pre- 
cept delivered on Mount Horeb. 

Come then, my soul, thou hast now thy hand upon^the 
book to be sworn ; thou art lifting up thy hand to the most 
high God, the possessor of heaven and earth ; think what 
thou art doing, and adjust the particulars, that this may not 
become a rash oath, inconsiderately taken. God is here 
confirming his promises to us, by an oath, to show th^ im- 
mutability of his counsels of love to us. Here, therefore, 
we must confirm our promise to him by an oath, to walk in 
God's law, and to *' observe and do all the commandments 
of the Lord our God." Some of the oriental writers tell us, 
that the most solemn oath which the patriarchs before the 
flood used, was, by the blood of Abel, and we are sure that 
the blood of Jesus is infinitely more sacred, and speaks 
much greater, and much better things than that of Abel. 
Let us, therefore, testify our value for that blood, and secure 
to ourselves the blessings purchased by it, by our sincere 
and faithful dealing with God in that covenant, of which 
this is the blood. 

The command of the eternal God, is, that we " cease to 
do evil, and \e9jn to do well ; that we put off the old man, 
and put on the new." And our vows to God must accord- 
ingly be against all sin, and to all duty, and under each of 
tliese heads we must be particular according as the case is. 

1. We must here by a solemn vow bind ourselves against 
all sin ; so as not only to break our league with it, but to 
enter into league against it. The putting away of the 
strange wives, in Ezra's time, was not the work of one day 
or two, but a work of time, and therefore Ezra, when he 
had the people under convictions, and saw them weeping 
sore for their sin, in marrying them, very prudently bound 
them by a solemn covenant that they would put them away. 
If ever we conceive an aversion to sin, surely it is at the 
ieible of the Lord ; and therefore we should improve that 


opportimitj to invigorate our refloiutibns against it, that the 
Femembrance of those resolutions may quicken our resist- 
ance of it, when the sensible impressions we are under from 
it are become less lively. Thus we must by a solemn vow 
cast away from us all our transgressions, saying Mrith 
Ephraim, '' What have I to do any more with idols ?" 

We must solemnly vow, that we will not indulge or allow 
ourselves in any sin. Though sin may remain, it shall not 
reign ; though those Canaanites be in the land, yet we will 
not be tributaries to them. However it may usurp and op- 
press as a tyrant, it shall never be owned as a rightful prince, 
nor have a peaceful and undisturbed dominion. I may be 
in some particular instances, through the surprise of temp- 
tations, led into captivity by it ; but I am fully resolved 
through Christ, never to join in affinity with it, never es- 
pouse its cause, never plead for it, nor strike in with its in* 

Bind thyself with this bond, O my soul, that though 
through the remainders of corruptions, thou canst not say, 
thou hast no sin ; yet, through the beginnings of grace, 
thou wilt be able to say, thou lovest none. That thou wilt 
give no countenance or connivance to any sin ; no, not to 
secret sins, which, though they shame thee not before men, 
yet shame thee before God, and thine own conscience ; no, 
not to heart sins, those first-born of the corrupt nature, the 
beginning of its strength. Vain thoughts may intrude, and 
force a lodging in me, but I will never invite them, never 
bid them welcome, nor court their stay ; corrupt affections 
may disturb me, but they shall never have the quiet and 
peaceable possession of me ; no, whatever wars against my 
soul, by the grace of God, I will war against it, hoping in 
due time to get the dominion, and have its yoke broken 
from off my neck, when '' judgment shall be brought forth 
into victory," and grace perfected in glory. 

We must solemnly vow, that we will never yield to any 
gross sin, such as lying, injustice, uncleanness, drunkenness, 
profanation of God's name, and such like, which are not 
the spots of God's children. Though all the high places 
be not taken away, yet there shall be no remains of Baal, 
or of Baal's priests and altars in my soul. However my 
owQ heart may be spotted by sins of in^mity, and may need 


to be daily washed, yet, by the grace of God, I will never 
spot my profession, nor stain the credit of that by open and 
scandalous sin. I have no reason to be ashamed of the 
gospel, and therefore it shall be my constant endeavour, not 
to be in any thing a shame to the gospel ; it is an honour 
to me, I will never be a dishonour to it ; I will never do 
any thing, by the grace of God I will not, which may give 
occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme that wor- 
thy name by which I am called. So shall it appear, that I 
am upright, if I be innocent from these great transgressions. 

We must solemnly vow, that with a particular care we 
will keep ourselves from our own iniquity. That sin, with 
which, in our penitent reflections, our own consciences did 
most charge us, and reproach us for, that sin we must in a 
special manner renew our resolutions against. Was it 
pride ? Was it passion ? Was it distrust of God, or love 
of the world ? Was it an unclean fancy, or an idle tongue ? 
— ^Whatever it was, let the spiritual force be mustered and 
drawn out against that. The instructions which Samuel 
gave to Israel, when they were lamenting after the Lord, 
are observable to this purpose — *' If ye do return to the 
Lord with all your hearts," and would be accepted of him 
therein, " then put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth." 
Was not Ashtaroth one of the strange gods, or goddesses ? 
Yes ; but that is particularly instanced in, because it had 
been a beloved idol, dearer than the rest, that especially 
must be put away. Thus, in our covenanting with God, 
we must engage against all sin, but in particular, against 
that which, by reason of the temper of our minds, the con- 
stitution of our bodies, or the circumstances of our outward 
affairs, doth most easily beset us, and we are most prone to. 

Knowest thou thine ownself, O my soul ? If thou dost, 
thou " knowest thine own sickness, and thine own sore," 
that is thine own iniquity : bring that hither and slay it ; 
let not thine eyes spare, neither do thou pity it. Hide it 
not, excuse it not, stipulate not for leave to reserve it as 
Naaman did for his house of Rimmon ; though it hath been 
to thee as a right eye, as a right hand, as thy guide and 
thine acquaintance, it hath been a false guide, an ill ac- 
quaintance, pluck it out, cut it off, and cast it from thee. 
Now come and fortify thy resolutions in the strength of 


Christ against that ; fetch in help from heaven against that ; 
be vigorous in thy 'resistance of that, and how many soever 
its advantages are against thee, yet despair not of a victory 
at last. 

We must solemnly vow, that he will abstain from all ap- 
pearance of evil ; not only from that which is manifestly 
sin, and which carries the evidences of its own malignity 
written on its forehead, but from that which looks like sin, 
and borders upon it. Wisdom is here profitable to direct, 
, so as that we may not on the one hand indulge a scru- 
pulous conscience, and yet on the other hand may pre- 
serve a tender conscience. Far be it from us to make 
that to be sin which God hath not made so ; and yet in 
doubtful cases it must be our care and covenant to keep 
the safer side, and to be cautious of that which is suspi- 
cious ; ** he that walks uprightly walks surely." What we 
find to be rather a snare to us, and an occasion of sin, or 
a blemish to us, and an occasion of scandal, or a terror to 
us in the reflection, and an occasion of grief or fear, it may 
do well expressly to resolve against, though we be not very 
clear that it is in itself sinful, nor dare censure it as an evU 
in others ; provided that this vow be made with such limita- 
tions as that it may not afterwards prove an entanglement to 
us, when, either by the improvement of our knowledge, or 
the change of our circumstances, it ceaseth to have in it 
an appearance of evil. 

And art thou willing, my soul, to come under this bond ? 
Wilt thou put far from thee the accursed thing ? Wilt thou in 
this ordinance make a covenant with thine eyes, and oblige 
them not to look on the wine when it is red, nor to look 
on a woman to lust after her? Wilt thou shun sin as the 
plague, and engage thyself, not only never to embrace 
that adulteress, but never to come nigh the door of her 
house. Thy vow being like that of the Nazarite, not to 
drink of this intoxicating wine ; let it be then like his, not 
to eat any thing that cometh of the wine, " from the kernel 
to the husk." Abondon sin and all appurtenances, cast 
out Tobiah and all his stuff. Resolve to deny thyself in 
that which is most desirable, rather than give Satan any 
advantage ; to abridge thyself even in that which is lawful, 
rather than come within iVie con^wes of sin, or bring thy- 


self into danger of that which is unlawful. Happy is the 
man that fearelh always. 

We must solemnly vow, that we will have no fellowship 
^* with the unfruitful works of darkness, neither be par- 
takers of other men's sins." We live in a cprrupt and de- 
generate age, ' in which iniquity greatly abounds. Our 
business is not to judge others ; to their own ihasters they 
stand or fall, but our care must be, to preserve x)urselvep, 
and the purity and peace of our own minds ; our covenant 
therefore must be, that we will never " walk in the counsel 
of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners." When 
David engaged himself to keep the commandments of his 
God, pursuant to that engagement, he said to evil-doers, 
** Depart from me." And St. Peter reminded his new 
converts of the necessity of this care — ^* Save yourselves 
form this untoward generation." 

Let the Psalmist's vow be min^ then. Having hated the 
congregation of evil-doers, such as drunkards, swearers, 
filthy talkers, and scoffers at godliness, " I will not sit with 
the wicked." Though I cannot avoid being som etimes in 
the sight and hearing of such, yet I will never take those 
for my chosen companions, and bosom friends in this 
world, with whom I should dread to have my portion in the 
other world. Religion in rags shall be always valued by 
me, and profaneness in robes despised. Having chosen 
God for my God, his people shall always be my people; — 
" Lord, gather not my soul with sinners." If thou art in 
good earnest for heaven, resolve to swim against the 
stream, thou wilt find that sober singularity is an excellent 
guard to serious piety. On all that glory let there be this 

2. We must here, by a solemn vow, bind ourselves up 
to all duty. It is not enough that we depart from evil, but 
we must do good ; that we separate ourselves from the ser- 
vice of sin, and shake off Satan's iron yoke ; but we must 
devote ourselves to the service of Christ, and put our necks 
under the sweet and easy yoke of God's commandments, 
with a solemn promise faithfully to draw in that yoke all 
our days. We need not bind ourselves to more than we 
are already bound to by the divine law, either expressly or 
by consequence; either as primary duties^ or secotLdaat^, 


Id order to them. We are not called to lay upon ourselvev 
any other burden than necessary things, and they are not 
heavy burdens, nor grievous to be borne but we must bind 
ourselves by additional ties, to that which we are already 
bound to. 

We must, by a solemn vow, oblige ourselves to all the 
duties of religion in general. Jacob's voiy must be ours, 
*' Then the Lord shall be my God." Having avouched him 
for mine, I will fear him and love him, delight in him, and 
depend upon him, worship him and glorify him, as my 
Lord and my God. Having owned him as mine, I will 
even eye him as mine, and '^ walked in his name.'' David's 
TOWS must be ours ; that we will '' keep God's judgments ; 
that we will keep in them as our way, keep to them as our 
rule ; that we will keep them as the apple of our eye, 
keep them always unto the end. 

In the strength of the grace of Jesus Christ, we must 
here solemnly promise and vow, 

1st, That we will make religion our business. — It is oar 
great business in this world, to serve the honour of him 
that made us, and secure the happiness we are made for ; 
this we must mind as our business, and not, as they most 
do, make a by-business of it. Religion must be our call- 
ing ; the calling we resolve to live in, and hope to live by ; 
in the services of it we must be constant and diligent, and 
as in our element. Other thing must give way to it, and 
be made, as much as may be, servicable to it. And this 
must be our covenant with God here, that however we have 
trifled hitherto, henceforward we will mind religion as the 
one thing needful, and not to be slothful in the business of 
it, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. And art thou 
willing, my soul, thus to devote thyself entirely to the ser- 
vice of God ? Shall that engage thy cares, fill thy thoughts, 
command thy time, and give law to the whole man ? Lei 
this matter be settled then, in this day's vows, and resolve 
to live and die by it. 

2d, That we will make conscience of inside godliness. 
— Having in our covenant given God our heart, which is 
what he demands, we must resolve to employ it for him ; 
for without doubt, he is a Jew, he is a Christian, that is 
one inwardly ; and that is circumcision, that is baptiaa, 
Ihat is true and pure religion, *' which is of the heart, ib 


the spirit, and not in the letter." That we arc really what 
we are inwardly ; and they only are the true worshippers, 
that worship God in the spirit. This is the power of godliness, 
without which the form is but a carcass, but a shadow. 
" The king's daughter is all glorious within." This, 
therefore, we must resolve in the strength of the grace of 
God, that we will keep our hearts with all diligence, keep 
them fixed, fixed upon God ; that the desire of our souls 
shall ever be towards God ; our hearts shall be lifted up to 
God in every prayer, and their doors and gates thrown 
open to admit his word ; and that our constant care shall 
he about the '' hidden man of the heart, in that which is 
not corruptible;" so approving ourselves to God in our 
integrity in every thing we do in religion. 

3d, That we will live a life of communion with God. — 
Without controversy, great is this mystery of godliness; if 
there be a iheaven upon earth, certainly this is it, by faith 
to set the Lord always before us, having an eye to him 
with suitable affections, as the first cause, and last end, of 
all things that concern us ; and so having communion with 
him in providence as well as ordinances. When we re- 
ceive the common comforts of every day from his hand 
with love and thankfulness ; and bear the common crosses 
and disappointments of every day, as ordered by his will, 
with patience and submission; when we commit every 
day's care to him, and manage every day's business and 
converse for him, having a constant habitual regard to God 
in the settled principles of the divine life, and frequent ac- 
tual out-goings of soul towards him in pious ejaculations^ 
the genuine expressions of devout affections ; then we live 
a life of communion with God. Did we know by experi- 
ence, what it is to live such a life as this, we would not 
exchange the pleasures of it for the peculiar treasures of 
kings and provinces. 

Engage thyi^elf, then, my soul, elevate thyself to this 
spiritual and divine life, and every day may be thus with 
thee a communion-day, and thy constant fellowship may 
be with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ, by the 
Spirit. Let me resolve henceforward to live, more than I 
Imve hitherto done, a life of complacency in God, in his 
beauty^ boanty, and benignity ; a life of dependence upoB 


God, upou his power, providence, and promise ; a life of 
tievotedness to God, to the conduct of his Spirit, and the 
disposal of his providence ; and thus to walk with God in 
all holy conversation. 

4th, That we will keep heaven in our eye, and take up 
with nothing short of it. We are made for another world, 
and we must resolve to set our hearts upon the world, and 
have it always in our eye ; seeking ^he things that are 
above, and slighting things below in comparison with 
them, as those that are born from heaven, and bound for 
heaven. Bind thyself, my soul, with this bond, that " for- 
getting the things that are behind, as one that hath not 
yet attained, neither is already perfect," thou wilt reach 
forth to those things that are before, " pressing forwards 
towards the mark, for the prize of the high calling." My 
treasure is in heaven, my heart, hope, and home, are there; 
I shall never be well till I am there ; there, therefore, shall 
my heart be, and to that recompense of reward I will ever 
have respect , with an eye to that joy and glory set before 
me in the other world, I will, by the grace of God, patient- 
ly run the race of godliness set before me in this world. 

3. We must, by a solemn vow, oblige ourselves to some 
duties of religion in particular. As it is good to engage 
ourselves by covenant against particular sins, that, by the 
help of resolution, our resistance of them may be invigo- 
rated ; so it is good to engage ourselves to particular duties, 
that we may be quickened diligently to apply ourselves' to 
them, and may see our work before us. 

We should particularly oblige ourselves to those duties, 
of which our own consciences have charged us with the 
neglect. We have known that good which our own hearts 
tell us we have not done ; we find upon reflection, it may 
be, that we have not been constant in our secret devotion, 
that we have not done that good in our families which we 
should have done, we have been barren in good discourse, 
careless of our duty to the souls of others, backward to 
works of charity, unfurnished for and indisposed to reli- 
gious exercises ; in these, or other thinofs, wherein we are 
conscious to ourselves that we have been defective, we co- 
venant for the future to be more circumspect and indus- 
friouSj. that our works may be found filled up before God. 


When the Jews in Nehemiah's time made a sure covenant, 
wrote it, and sealed ip it, they inserted particular articles, 
relating to those branches of God's service which had been 
neglected, and made ordinances for themselves, according 
to the ordinances that God had given them ; so should we 
do, as an evidence of the sincerity of our repentance for 
our former omissions, both of duty and in duty. That 
work of our Lord, wherein we have been most wanting, in 
that we must covenant to abound most, that we may re- 
deem the time. 

We should particularly oblige ourselves to those duties 
which we have found by experience to contribute most to 
the support and advancement of the life and power of god- 
liness in our hearts. They that have carefully observed 
themselves, perhaps can tell what those religious exercises 
are, which they have found to be most serviceable to the 
prosperity of their souls, and by which they have reaped 
most spiritual benefit and advantage. Have our hearts 
been most enlarged in secret devotion ? Hath God some- 
times met us in our closets with special comforts, and the 
unusual manifestations of himself to our souls ? Let us 
from thence take an indication, and covenant to be more 
alone in secret communion with God. Have public ordi- 
nances been to us as green pastures, and have we sitten 
down by them with delight ? Let us resolve to be so much 
the more diligent in our attendance on them, and wait 
more closely at those gates where we have so often been 
abundantly satisfied. Though one duty must never be al- 
lowed to intrench upon another, yet those duties which 
we have found to be the most effectual means of increas- 
ing our acquaintance with God, confirming our faith in 
Christ, and furthering us in our way to heaven, we should^ 
with a peculiar care, engage ourselves to. 

Though God hath strictly commanded us the great and 
necessary acts of religious worship, yet, for the trial of our 
holy ingenuity and zeal, he hath left it to us to determine 
many of the circumstances ; that even instituted sacrifices 
may be in some respects free will offerings ; he hath com- 
manded us to pray and read the Scriptures, but hath not 
told us just how oft and how long we must pray and read ; 
here, therefore, it is proper for us to bind ourselves to that 

. 220 

which will best answer the intention of the eommand in 
general, best agree with the circumstances we are in, and 
best advance the interests of oar souls; in which we must 
take heed on the one hand, that we indulge not spiritual 
sloth, by contenting ourselves with the least proportions of 
time that may be, much less by confining ourselves to 
Ihem ; and, on the other hand, that we make not religious 
exercises a task and burden to ourselves, by binding our- 
^Ives to that at all times, which, in an extraordinary pang 
of devotion, is easy and little enough. In making reso- 
lutions ot this kind, we ought to be cautious, and not hasty 
to utter any thing before God, that we may not afterwards 
say before the angel, " It was an error." Though such 
is the decay of Christian zeal in the age that we live in, 
that few need this caution, yet it must be inserted, '^ be- 
cause it is a snare to a man to devour that which is holy, 
and after vows to make inquiry." 

We should particularly oblige ourselves to those du- 
ties by which we have opportunities of glorifying God, 
adorning our profession, and doing good in our places. We 
are not born for ourselves, nor bought for ourselves; we are 
born for God, and bought for Christ ; and both as men and as 
Christi'ins, we are members one of another, and we ought to 
sit down and consider how we may trade with the talent with 
which we are intrusted, though it be but one, to the glory of 
our Creator, the honour of our Redeemer, and the good of 
our brethren. The liberal and pious deviseth liberal and 
pious things, and oblige themselves to them. Think 
then, my soul, not only what must I do, but what may I do 
for God, who hath done such great things for me i How 
may I be serviceable to the interests of God's kingdom 
among men ? What can I do to promote the strength and 
beauty of the church, and the welfare of precious souls? 
And if we have thought of any thing of this kind, that 
falls within the sphere of our activity, though but a low 
and narrow sphere, it may do well when we find ourselves 
in a good frame at the table of the Lord, by a solemn vow, 
with due caution to oblige ourselves to it, that we may not 
leave room for a treacherous heart to start back. Thus 
Jacob, for the perpetuating the memory of God's favour to 
him, made it a part of bis vow — ** This stone which I 


have set for a pillar, shall be God's house." Thus Hannah 
vowed, that, if God would give her a son, she would give 
him to the Lord. It is one of the rules prescribed con- 
cerning cost or pains bestowed for pious and charitable 
uses—'' Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, 
so let him give, so let him do." Now, lest that purpose 
should fail and come to nothing, it is good, when the mat- 
ter of it is well digested, to bring it to a head in a solemn 
promise, that the tempter seeing us steadfastljr resolved, he 
may cease soliciting us to alter our purpose. 

We should particularly oblige ourselves to the duties of 
our respective callings and relations. Much of Christian 
obedience lies in these instances ; and in them we are es- 
pecially called to serve God, and our generation, and shouM 
therefore bind ourselves to do so. 

They that are in places of public trust and power* 
should here oblige themselves, by a solemn vow, to be 
faithful to the trust reposed in them, and to use tlipir pow- 
er for the public good. They that rule over men, must 
here covenant that they will be just, ruling in the fear of 
God. Their oaths must here be ratified, and David's pro- 
mise must be theirs — " When I shall receive the congre- 
gation, I will judge uprightly." This ought to be serious- 
ly considered by all those who receive this holy sacrament at 
their admission into the magistracy. When publicans and 
soldiers submitted to the baptism of John, and thereby 
obliged themselves to live a holy life, they asked and re- 
ceived of John instructions how to discharge the duty of 
their respective employments ; for when we vow to keep 
God's commandments, though we must have an universal 
respect to them all, yet we must have a special regard to 
these precepts which relate to the calling wherein we artt 
called, whatever it is. 

The stewards of the mysteries of God, when they ad- 
minister this ordinance to others, receive it themselves as aa 
obligation upon them to stir up the gifl that is in them^ 
that they may make full proof of their ministry. Their or- 
dination vows are repeated and confirmed in ev^y sacra- 
ment, and they are again sworn to be true to Christ and 
souls. He that ministereth about holy thingSj must here 

oblige himself to ** wait chi his ministering ; he that teaeh- 
eth, on teaching ; he that ezhorteth, on exhortation." 

Governors of families mnst here oblige themselveSy as 
David did, to walk before their houses in a perfect waj, 
with a perfect heart ; and they must affix this seal to Josh- 
ua's resoiution, that, whatever others do, '' they and their 
houses will serve the Lord." Here they must consecrate 
to God a church in their house, and bind themselves to set 
npy and always to keep up, both an altar and a throne for 
God in their habitation, that they may approve themselves 
the spiritual seed of faithful Abraham, who was famous for 
fiunily religion. It is with this intent, I suppose, that the 
mbric of the public establishment declares it convenient, 
** That new married persons should receive the holy com- 
munion at the time of their marriage, or at the first oppcnr- 
tunity afler their marriage ;" that, being engaged to each 
other in a new relation, they may solemnly engage them- 
selves 1^ discharge the duties of that relation in the fear of 
God. And inferior relations must here oblige themselves 
to do the duty they owe to their superior- ; children to be 
dutiful to their parents, servants to be obedient to their 
masters ; yea, all of us to be subject one to another. They 
that are under the yoke, as the apostle speaks, may here 
make the yoke they are under easy to them, by obliging 
themselves to draw in it from a principle of duty to Grod, 
and gratitude to Christ, which will both sanctify and sweet- 
en the hardest services and submission. 

Whatever our employments are, and our dealings with 
men, we must here promise and avow, that we will be strict- 
ly just and honest in them ; that, whatever temptations we 
may be under to the contrary at any time, we will make 
eonscience of '^ rendering to all their due, and of speaking 
the truth from the heart ; that we will walk uprightly, ana 
work righteousness, despise the gain of oppression, and 
shake our hand from holding of bribes," knowing that they 
who do so '' shall dwell on high, their place of defence 
shall be the munition of rocks, bread shall be given them^ 
and their waters shall be sure." We find it upon record, 
to the honour of Christ's holy religion, when it was firs^ 
planted in the world, that Pliny, a heathen magistrate, and 
a persecutor of Christianity^ giving an account to the Em^ 


peror Trajan, of what he had discovered concerning the 
Christians, in an epistle yet extant, acknowledgeth that in 
their religious assemblies they bound themselves by a sa- 
crament, that is, they bound themselves not to do any thing 
evil ; that they would not rob or steal, or commit adultery ;, 
that they would never be false to any trust reposed in them, 
never deny any thing that waspi^t into their hands to keep ; 
and the like. The same is still the true intent and me£in- 
ing of this service ; it is the bond of a covenant, added to 
the bond of a command, that we ''do justly, love mercy^ 
and walk humbly with our Qod." 

Come then, my soul, come under these bonds, come' wil- 
lingly and cheerfully under them, for he that bears an hon- 
est mind, doth not startle at . assurances ; be not afraid to 
promise that which thou art aj^eady bound to do ; for these 
vows will rather facilitate thy duty, than add to the difficulty 
of it ; the faster thou findest thyself fixed to that which is 
good, the less there will be of uneasy hesitation and waver- 
ing concerning it, and the less danger of being tempted 
from it. 

Only remember that all those vows must be made with 
an entire dependence upon the strength and grace of Jesus 
Christ, to enable us to make them good. We have a great 
deal of reason to distrust ourselves, so weak and treacherous 
are our hearts ; Peter betrayed himself by confiding in him- 
self, when he said, ** Though I should die with thee, yet will 
I not deny thee." But we have encouragement enough to 
trust in Christ ; in his name therefore let us make our vows, 
in this grace let us be strong ; surely '' in the Lord alons 
liave we righteousness and strength," he is the surety of 
the covenant for both parties ; into his custody therefore, 
and under the protection of his grace, let us pour out ouv 
souls, and we shall find he is able to keep what we commil 
to him. 



They that have fellowship with the Father, and with his 
Son Jesus Christ, at the table of the Lord, whose hearts 
are enlarged to send forth the workings of pious and devout 
affections towards God, and to take in the communication 
of divine light, life, and love from him, cannot but say, as 
Peter did upon the holy mount, " Lord, it is good for us to 
be here ; here let us make tabernacles." They sit down 
under the refreshing shadow of this ordinance with delight, 
and its fruit is sweet unto their taste. Here they could 
dwell all the days of their life, beholding the beauty of the 
Lord, and inquiring in his temple. But it is not a coatin- 
nal feast , we must come down from this mountain ; theae 
sweet and precious minutes are soon numbered and finish- 
ed ; supper is ended, thanks are returned, the guests are 
dismissed with a blessing, the hymn is sung, and we go out 
to the Mount of Olives ; even in this Jerusalem, the city 
of our solemnities, we have not a continuing city ; Jacob 
hath an opportunity of wrestlinfr with the angel a while, 
but he must ^' let him go, for the day breaks," and he hath 
a family to look after, a journey to prosecute, and the affairs 
thereof call for his attendance. We must not be always at 
the Lord's table ; the high-priest himself must not be al- 
ways within the vail, he must go out again to the people 
when his service is performed. Now, it ought to be aa 
much our care to return in a right manner from the ordin- 
ance, as to approach in a right manner to it. That caution 
is here needful : ** Look to yourselves, that we lose not 
those things which we have wrought, which we have gain- 
ed," — so some read it. Have we in this ordinance wrought 
any thing, or gained any thing that is good ? We are con- 
cerned to see to it, that we do not undo what we have 
wrought, and let slip what we have gained. 


When the solemnity is done, our work is not done ; still 
we must be pressing forwards in our duty. This perhaps 
is the mystery of that law in EzekieFs temple service, that 
they should not return from worshipping before the Lord, 
in the solemn feasts, " through the same gate by which 
they entered in, but by that over against it." Forgetting 
those things which are behind, still we must reach forth te 
those things which are before. 

Let us inquire, then, What is to be done, at our coming 
away from the ordinance, for the preserving and improving 
of the impressions of it ? 

1. We should come from this ordinance admiring the 
condescensions of the divine grace to us. — Great are the 
honours which have here been done us, and the favours to 
which here we have been admitted ; that God that made 
jus hath taken us into covenant and communion with him* 
self; the King of kings hath entertained us at his table, 
and there we have been feasted with the dainties of heaven^ 
abundantly satisfied with the goodness of his house ; ex- 
ceeding great and precious promises hath been here sealed 
to us, and earnests given us of the eternal inheritance ; 
now, if we know ourselves, this cannot but be the matter 
of our wonder, our joyful, and yet awful wonder. 

Considering our meanness by nature, we have reason tb 
wonder that the great God should thus advance us. High- 
er than heaven is above the earth, is God above us , be- 
tween heaven and earth there is, though a vast, yet only 
a finite distance ; but, between God and man, there is an 
infinite disproportion. ** What is man then (man that is a 
worm, and the son of man that is a worm,) that he should 
be thus visited and regarded ; thus dignified and prefer- 
red ?" That favour done to Israel sounds great : " Man 
did eat angels' food ;" but here man is feasted with that 
which was rfever angels' food, the " flesh and blood of the 
Son of man," which gives life to the world. Solomon him- 
self stood amazed at God's condescending to take posses- 
sion of that magnificent temple he had built ; *' but will 
God in very deed dwell with men on the earth ?" And, 
which is more, shall men on the earth dwell in God, and 
make the Most High their habitation ? If great men look 
with respect upon those that are much their inferior, it is 


because tliey expect to receive honour and advantage by 
them ; " but, can a man be profitable unto God ?" No, he 
cannot ; " our goodness extendeth not unto him." He was 
from eternity happy without us, and would have been so to 
eternity, if we had never been, or had been miserable ; but 
we are undone, undone for ever, if his goodness extends 
not to us : he needs not our services, but we need his fa- 
vours; men adopt because they are childless, but God 
adopts us purely because we are fatherless. It was no ex- 
cellency in us that recommended us to his love, but poverty 
and misery made us proper objects of his pity. 

Come then, my soul, and compose thyself as king David 
did, when, having received a gracious message from heaven, 
assuring him of God's kind intentions to him and his fam- 
ily, he went in, and, with a great fixedness of mind, sat be- 
fore the Lord ; and say, as he said, ** Who am I, O Lord 
God, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hith- 
erto ?" That I should be so kindly invited to the table of 
the Lord, and so splendidly treated there ? That one so 
mean and wortliless as I am, the poorest dunghill worm 
that ever called God father, should be placed among the 
■children, and fed with the children's bread ? And yet, as 
if this wore a " small th'incr m thy sight, O Lord God, thou 
hast spoken also concerning thy servant for a great while 
to come," even as far as eternity itself reaches ; and thus 
** thou hrist rejrarded nie accordinfr to the estate of a man 
of hii^h iletrrce," thoii'jrh I am nothing, yea less than noth- 
iniTj and vanity. " And is this the marnier of men, O Lord 
God ?" Could men expect thus to be favoured ? No ; but 
thou givost to men, not according to their poverty, but ac- 
cording to thy riches in glory. Do great men use to conde- 
scend thus ? No, it is usual with them to tiike state upon 
them and to oblige their inferiors to keep their distance ; 
but we have to do with one that is Cod, and not man ; 
whosti thoucrhts of love are as much above ours, as his 
thouf^hts of wisdom are ; and therefore, as it follows there, 
" What can David say more unto thee ?" What account 
can I give of this unaccountable favour ? '* It is for thy 
word's sake, and according to thine own heart," for the 
performance of thy pur])oses and promises, that** thou hast 
done all these great things, to make thy servant know 


Considering our vileness of sin, we have yet more rea- 
son to wonder that the holy God should thus favour us. 
We are not only worms of the earth, below his cognizance, 
but a generation of vipers, obnoxious to his curse ; not 
only unworthy of his love and favour, but worthy of his 
wrath and displeasure. How is it then, that we are 
l)rought so near unto him, who deserved to have been sen- 
tenced to an eternal separation from him? He hath said, 
"The foolish. shall not stand in his sight." Foolish we 
know we are, and yet we are called to sit at his table, 
being through Christ reconciled to him, and brought into 
covenant with him. Justice might have set us as cri- 
inhials at his bar; but, behold mercy sets us as children 
at his board ; and it is a miracle of mercy, mercy that is 
the wonder of angels, and will be the eternal transport of 
glorified saints. See how much we owe to the Redeemer, 
by whom we have access into this grace. 

Let me therefore set myself, and stir up myself, to ad- 
mire it; I have more reason to say than Mephibosheth 
had, when David took liim to eat bread, at his table con- 
tinually, " What is thy servant, that thou shouldst > k 
upon such a dead dog as I am ?" I am less than the least 
of God's mercies, and yet he hath not withheld the greatest 
from me ; I have forfeited the comforts of my own table 
and yet I am feasted with the comforts of the Lord's table ! 
I deserve to have had the cup of the Lord's indignation 
put into my hand, and to have drunk the dregs of it, but 
behold I have been treated with the cup of salvation. 
Were ever traitors jnade favourites ? Such traitors made 
such favourites? Who can sufficiently admire the love of 
the Redeemer, who " received gifts for men, yea, even for 
the rebellious also," upon their return to their allegiance, 
"that the Lord God might dwell among them?" And 
have I shared in these gifts, notwithstanding my rebellions? 
This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous. Whence 
is this to me, that not the mother of my Lord, but my 
Lord himself should come to me ? That he should thus 
prevent me, thus distinguish me with his favours ? " Lord 
how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself to me and not unte 
the world ?" 

2. We should come from this ordinance lamenting oat 


^wn maDifold defects and infinnities in our attendance upon 
God in it When we look back upon the solemnity, we 
find, that as we cannot speak well enough of Grod and of 
his grace, so we cannot ^>eak ill enough of ourselyes, and 
of the folly and treachery of our own hearts. Now, con- 
science, thou art charged in God's name to do thine office, 
and to accomplish a diligent search ; review the workings 
of the soul in this ordinance distinctly and impartially. 

And if upon search thou findest cause to suspect that 
all hath been done in hypocrisy, then set thy soul a trem- 
bling ; for its condition is sad, and highly dangerous. J£ 
I have been here pretending to join myself in a covenant 
with God, while I continue in league with the world and 
the flesh : pretending to receive the pardon of my sins, 
when I never repented of them, nor designed to forsake 
them ; I have but deceived myself, and have reason to 
fear that I shall perish at last with a lie in my right hand. 
While this conviction is fresh and sensible, let care be 
taken to mend the matter ; and, blessed be Grod, it may be 
mended. Have I reason to fear that my heart is not right 
in the sight of God, and that therefore I have no lot nor 
part in the matter, but am in the gaul of bitterness/ and 
bond of iniquity ? I must then take the advice which 
Peter gave to Simon Magus, when he perceived that to be 
his condition, after he had received the sacrament of bap- 
tism : '^ Repent, therefore, of this thy wickedness, and 
pray God, if perhaps the thoughts of thine heart may be 
forgiven thee." Let that be done with a double care after 
the ordinance which should have been done before. 

But if upon search thou findest that there hath been, 
through grace, truth in the inward part ; yet set thy soul 
a blushing, for it hath not been cleansed according to the 
purification of the sanctuary. When we would do good, 
evil is present with us ; our wine is mixed with water, and 
our gold with dross ; and who is there that " doth good 
and sinneth not," even in his doing good ? We find, by 
sad experience, that the sons of God never come together 
but Satan comes also among them, and stands at their 
right hand to resist them ; and that wherever we go, we 
carry about with us the remainders of corruption, a body 
of death, which inclines to that which is evil, and indis- 


poses us to that which is good. If the spirit .be willing, 
yet alas, the flesh is weak, and we cannot do the things 
that we would. 

O what reason have I to be ashamed of myself, and 
blush to lid up my face before God, when I review the 
frame of my iieart during my attendance on this ordinance ! 
How short have I come of doing my duty according as the 
work of the day required ? My thoughts should have been 
fixed, and the subjects presented to them to fix upon were 
curious enough to engage them, and copious enough to 
employ them ; and yet they went with the fool's eyes, 
unto the end of the earth, and wandered after a thousand 
impertinences. A little thing served to give them a diver- 
sion from the contemplation of the great things set before 
me. My affections should have been raised and elevated, 
but they were low and flat and little moved ; if sometimes 
they seemed to soar upwards, yet they soon sunk down 
again, and the things which remained were ready to 
die. My desires were cold and indifferent, my faith weak 
and inactive ; nor were there any workings of soul in me 
proportionable to the weightiness of the transaction. 
Through my own dulness, deadness, and inadvertency, I 
lost a deal of time out of a little, and slept much of that 
which might have been done and got there, if I had been 
close and diligent. 

This thought forbids us to entertain a good conceit of 
ourselves, and our own performances, or to build any con- 
fidence upon our own merit. While we are conscious to 
ourselves of so much infirmity cleaving to our best services, 
we must acknowledge that boasting is for ever excluded ; 
we have nothing to glory of before God, nor can we chal- 
lenge a reward as of debt, but must ascribe all to firee 
grace: What good there is in us, is all of God, aiid he 
niust have the honour of it ; but there is also much amiss, 
i¥hich is all of ourselves ; and we must take the shame of 
it, lamenting those sad effects of the remainder of '^in in 
us, which we feel to our loss when we draw nigh to God 
in holy ordinances. 

This thought pbligeth us likewise to rely on ChrisI 
alone fox acceptance with God in all our religious duties ; 
he is that great and gracious high-priest who '* bears the 


iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel 
hallow in their hdy gifts, that, notwithstanding that ini- 
quity which it is repented of, the gills may be accepted 
before the Lord." ''Of his righteousness therefore we 
must make mention, even of his only ; for the most spirit- 
ual sacrifices are acceptable to God only through him." 

3. We should come from this ordinance rejoicing in 
Jesus Christ, and in that great love wherewith he hath 
loved us. From this feast we should go to our tents, as 
the people went firom Solomon's feast of dedication, '' joy- 
ful and glad in heart, for all the goodness that the Lord 
hath done by David his servant, for Israel his people." 
They that went forth weeping, must come back rejoicing, 
as they have cause, if they " bring their sheaves with 
them." Hath God here lifted up the light of his counte- 
nance upon us ; that should *' put gladness into our heart.'' 
Have we here lifted up our souls to Grod, and joined our- 
selves to him in an everlasting covenant ? We have rea- 
son with the baptized Eunuch, to ** go on our way rejoic- 
ing." The day of our espousals should be the day " of the 
gladness of our hearts." This cup of blessing was design- 
ed to be a cup of consolation, and its wine ordained to 
make glad man's heart, to make glad the heart of the new 
man ; having therefore drunk of this cup, let our souls 
** make their boast in the Lord, and sing in his ways, and 
call him their exceeding joy." 

Let this holy joy give check to carnal mirth ; for having 
seen so much reason to rejoice in Christ Jesus, we deceive 
ourselves, if we rejoice in a thing of nought : we are not for- 
bidden to rejoice, but our joy must be turned into the 
right channel, and our mirth sanctified, which will suppress 
and silence the laughter that is mad. The frothiness of 
a vain mind must be cured by a religious cheerfiilness, as 
well as by a religious seriousness. 

Let it give check also to the sorrow of the world, and 
that inordinate grief for outward crosses, which sinks the 
spirits, dries the bones, and worketh death. Why art thou 
east down? And why disquieted for a light affliction, 
which is but for a moment ? When even that is so far 
from doing thee any real prejudice, that it works for thee 
a fiur more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Learn, 


my soul, to sit down upon- the ruins of aU thy creature 
comforts^ by a withered fig-tree, a fruitless vine, and a 
blasted crop, and even then to sing to the praise and glory 
of God, as the God of thy salvation. When thou art 
full, enjoy God in all ; when thou art empty enjoy all in 

Let this holy joy express itself in praises to God, and 
encouragement to ourselves. 

Let it express itself in the thankful acknowledgment of 
the favours we have received from God. As spiritual joy 
must be the heart and soul of divine praise, so divine 
praise must be the breath and speech of spiritual joy. 
Whatever makes us joyful, must make us thankful. Do 
we oome from this ordinance easy and pleasant, and great- 
ly refreshed with the goodness of God's house ? Let the 
high praises of God then be in our mouths, and in Q^ii 
hearts. This is a proper time for us to be engaged with 
great fixedness, and enlarged with great fluency in this 
service. If we must give thanks for the mercies we re- 
ceive at our own table, which relate only to a perishing 
body and a dying life, much more ought we to give thanks 
for the mercies .we receive at God's table, which relate to 
an immortal soul, and eternal life. 

" When thou hast eaten, and art full, then thou shalt 
bless the Lord thy God, for the good land which he hath 
given thee.'' Bless him for a Canaan on earth, a land of 
light, and a valley of vision, in which God is known, and 
his name great ; and for the comfortable lot thou hast in 
that land, a name among God's people, and a nail in his 
holy place, a portion in Emmanuel's land ; bless him for 
a Canaan in heaven which he hath given thee the promise 
and prospect of, that land flowing with milk and honey. 
Rejoice in hope of that, and sing in hope. 

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and let all that is within 
thee," all thy thoughts, and all thy powers be employed in 
blessing his holy name ; and all little enough. O give 
thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, good to all, good to 
Israel, good to me. " I will mention the loving kindness- 
es of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to 
all that the Lord hath bestowed on us." Give glory to the 
exalted Redeemer, and mention to his praise the great 


things he hath done for us. ** Worthy is the Lamb that 
was slain," to take the book, and open the seals ; worthy 
to wear the crown, and sway the sceptre ^ erer, worthy 
Id receire Mewing, and honour, and glory : worthy to be 
adored by the innumerable company of angels, and the 
^irits of just men made perfect ; worthy to be attended 
with the constant praises of the nnirersal church ; worthy 
of the innermost and aj^rmost place of my heart, of the 
best affections I can consecrate to his praise, and the best 
services I can do to his name ; for he was slain, and hath 
'' redeemed ns to God by his blood ; and hath made as to 
•or God kings and priests. He hath lofed us, and washed 
ns from our sins in his own blood ;" a note of praise, 
which the angels themselves cannot sing, though they 
have many a song to which we are strangers. ** He loved 
me, and gflTC his^elf £» me»" to sati9§ for my sin^^ and 
to obtain eternal redemption for me. Blesseo, and ibr 
ever blessed, be the great and holy name of the Lord Je- 
sus, that name which is as ointment poured forth, that 
name which is above every name, which is worthy of, and 
yet " exalted far above every blessing and praise." 

And whenever we confess that Jesus Christ is Lord 
let it always be done to the glory of God the Father. His 
kindness and love to men was the original spring, and first 
wheel in the work of our redemption. It was he that 
" gave his only begotten Son, delivered him up for us all, 
and who was in Christ reconciling the world unto him- 
self;" glory, therefore, eternal glory be unto God in the 
highest, for in Christ there is on earth eternal peace and 
good will towards men. God hath in Christ glorified him- 
self, we must therefore in Christ glorify him, and make all 
our joys and praises to centre in him. In the day of our 
rejoicing, this must be the burden of all our songs, bless- 
ed be God for Jesus Christ ; thanks be unto Grod for this 
unspeakable gift, the foundation of all other gifts. 

Let this holy joy speak encouragement to ourselves, 
cheerfully to proceed in our Christian course. The com- 
fort we have had in our covenant ^relation to God, and in- 
terest in Christ, should put a sweetness into all our enjoy- 
ments, and sanctify them to us. We must see the love of 
God in them, and taste that he is gracious^ and this must 


make them comforts indeed to us ; see the curse removed 
from them, see a blessing going along with them, and then 
** go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wiiie 
with a merry heart, for God now accepteth thy works." 
Have we good ground to hope, that through grace our 
works are accepted of God ? If we sincerely aim at Grod's 
acceptance, make that our end, and labour for it, with an 
eye to Christ as Mediator, we may hope that our persons 
and performances are accepted ; if we accept of God's 
works, accept the disposals of his providence, and the of- 
fers of his grace, with a humble acquiescence in both, that 
will be a good evidence that he accepts our works. And if 
so, we have reason to rejoice with joy unspeakable and 
full of glory. " Eat thy bread with joy," for it is thy Fa- 
ther's gift, the bread wherewjth the Lord thy God feeds 
'thee in this wilderness, through which he is leading thee 
to the land of promise ; ** drink thy wine with a merry 
heart," remembering Christ's love more than wine ; what 
thou hast, though mean and scanty, thou hast it with the 
blessing of God, which will make the little thou hast, 
** better than the riches of many wicked." 

Rejoice in the Lord now, O my soul, rejoice in him al- 
ways ; having kept his feast with gladness, as Hezekiah 
and his people did, carry with thee some of the comforts 
of God's table to thine own, and there eat thy meat with 
gladness, as the primitive Christians did. Live a life of 
holy cheerfulness, and the joy of the Lord will be thy 

4. We should come from this ordinance much quickened 
to every good work. Seeing ourselves compassed about 
here with so great a cloud of witnesses, bound by so many 
engagements, invited by so many encouragements, and 
obliged to God and godliness by so many ties of duty, in- 
terest and gratitude ; let us ** lay aside every weight, and 
the sin that most easily besets us," whatever it is, espe- 
cially the evil heart of unbelief, which is our great hin- 
derance. and '' let us run with patience the race that is set 
before us, looking unto Jesus." Let the covenant we have 
renewed, and the comforts we have received, make us 
mote ready to every good duty, and more lively in it ; more 
active and zealous for the glory of God, the service of our 


generation, and the welfare' and prosperity of our ow& 
jaouls. From what we have seen and done here me may 
fetch powerful considerations to shame us out of our sloth- 
fulness, and our backwardness to that which is good, 
and to stir us up to the utmost diligence in our master's 

When Jacob had received a gracious visit from God, 
and had made a solemn vow to him, it follows, '' Then Ja- 
cob went on his way." The original phrase is observable. 
"Then Jacob lift up his feet." After that comfortable 
night he had at Bethel, knowing himself to be in the way 
of his duty, he proceeded with a great deal of cheerful- 
ness, that strengthened the weak hands, and confirmed 
the feeble knees. Thus should our conmiunion with God 
in the Lord' Supper enlarge our hearts to run tlie way of 
God's commandments. After such an ordinance we should 
lift up our feet in the way of God, that is, as it is said of Je- 
hoshaphet, we should lift up our hearts in those ways, 
abiding and abounding in the work of the Lord. 

Rouse up thyself now, my soui, from thy spiritual slum- 
ber ; up, and be doing, for the Lord is with thee. Awake, 
awake, put on thy strength, put forth thy strength, that 
thou mayest push on thy holy war, thy holy work with vi- 
gour ; shake thyself from the dust, to which thou hast too 
much cleaved ; loose thyself from the bands of thy neck 
with which thou hast been too much clogged. Mediate 
more fixedly, pray more earnestly, resist sin more resolute- 
ly, keep Sabbaths more cheerfully, do good more readily. 
Thou hast heard the sound of a going in the tops of the 
mulberry trees, plain indications of the presence of God 
with thee, therefore now thou shalt bestir thyself. Let the 
comforts of this ordinance employ thy wings, that thou 
mayest soar upwards, upwards towards God, let them oil 
thy wheels, that thou mayest press forwards, forwards towards 
heaven ; let God's gifts to thee stir up his gifts in thee. 

5. We should come from this ordinance with a watchful, 
fear of Satan's wiles, and a firm resolution to stand our 
ground against them. Whatever comfort and enlargement 
we have had in this ordinance, still we must remember, 
that we are but girding on the harness, and therefore we 
have no reason to boast, or be secure, as though we have 


it put oflf. When we return to the world again, we must 
remember, that we go among snares, and must provide ac- 
cordingly ; it is our wisdom so to do. 

1st, Let us therefore fear. He that travels with a rich 
treasure about him, is in most danger of being robbed. 
The ship that is richly laden is the pirate's prize. If we 
come away from the Lord's table replenished with the good- 
ness of God's house, and the riches of his covenant, we 
must expect the assaults of our spiritual enemies, and not 
be secure. A strong guard was constantly kept upon the 
temple, and there needs one upon the living temples. The 
mystical song represents the bed which is Solomon's, thus 
surrounded by valiant men of the valiant of Israel, " be- 
cause of fear in the night." The Holy Ghost thus signi- 
fying that believers in this world are in a military state, 
and the followers of Christ must be his soldiers. They 
that work the good work of faith, must fight the good fight 
of faith. 

We must always stand upon our guardj for the goodman 
of the house knows not at what hour the thief will come ; 
but this we know, that immediately after our Saviour was 
baptized, and owned by a voice from heaven, " he was led 
into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." And im- 
mediately after he had administered th'^ liOrd's Supper to 
his disciples, he told them plainly, ** Saian hath desired to 
have you," he hath challenged you ** that he may sift you 
as wheat ;" and what he said to them, he saith to all-— 
** Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation." We 
must then double our guard against temptations to rask 
anger, and study to be more than ordinarily meek and qui- 
et, lest, by the tumults and transports of passion, the Holy 
Spirit be tempted to withdraw. If we have in this ordi- 
nance received Christ Jesus the Lord, let a strict charge 
be given, like that of the spouse, ** by the roes, and by the 
hinds of the field, that nothing be said, nothing done to 
stir up or awake our love until he please." Peace being 
spoken, peace made, let us be afraid of every thing that 
may give disturbance to it. We should also watch against 
the inroads of worldly cares and fears, lest they make a 
descent upon us after a sacrament, and spoD us of the 
comforts we have there received. 


But with a particular care we must watch against the 
workings of spiritual pride, after a sacrament. When our 
Lord Jesus first instituted this ordinance and made his dis- 
ciples partakers of it, they were so elevated with the hon- 
our of it, that, not content to be all thus great, a contest 
immediately arose among them, which of them should be 
greatest. And when St. Paul had been in the third hea- 
Tens, he was in danger of being *' exalted above measure 
with the abundance of the revelations." We therefore have 
oause to fear lest this dead fly spoil all our precious ointment, 
and to keep a very strict and jealous eye upon our own 
hearts, that they be not lifted up with pride, " lest we fall 
into the condemnation of the devil." Let us dread the first 
risings of self-conceit, and suppress them ; for, *' what have 
we that we have not received ? And if we have received 
it, why then do we boast ?" 

2d, Let us therefore fix ; and let our hearts be establish- 
ed with the grace here received. What we have done in 
this ordinance, we must go away firmly resolved to abide 
by all our days. I am now fixed immoveably for Christ and 
holiness, against sin and Satan. The matter is settled, 
never to be called in question again, " I will serve the Lord." 
The bargain is struck, the knot is tied, the debate is come 
up to a final resolve; and here I fix, as one steadfastly re- 
solved, with purpose of heart to cleave unto the Lord. No 
room is left to parley with a temptation ; I am a Christian, 
a confirmed Christian, and, by the grace of God, a Chris- 
tian I will live and die ; and therefore, ** get thee behind 
me Satan, thou art an otFence unto me." My resolutions, 
in which before I wavered, and was unsteady, are now come 
to a head, and are as a nail in a sure place ; I am now at 
a point, " I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I 
oannot go back ;" and therefore, by the grace of God, I am 
determined to go forward, and not so much as look back, 
or wish for a discharge from those engagements. " I have 
chosen the way of truth, and therefore in thy strength, 
Lord, I will stick to thy testimonies." Now my foot stands 
in an even place, well shod with the preparation of the gos- 
pel of peace. I am now like a strong man refreshed with 
-wine, resolved to resist the devil, that he may fly from me, 
and never yield to him. 


6. We should come from this ordinance praying ; lifUng 
up our hearts to God in ejaculatory petitions ; and retiring, 
as soon as may be, for solemn prayer. — Not only before, 
and in the duty, but after it we have occasion to offer up 
our desire to God, and bring in strength and grace from 

Two things we should be humbly earnest with God in 
prayer for, after this solemnity, and we are furnished from 
the mouth of holy David with very emphatical and expres- 
sive petitions for them both. We may therefore take with 
us these words in addressing to God. 

1st, We must pray that God will fulfil to us those prom- 
ises which he was graciously pleased to seal to us in this 
ordinance. David's prayer for this is, ** Now, Lord, let the 
thing that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and 
concerning his house, be established for ever, and do aB 
thon hast said.'' God's promises in the word are designed 
to be our pleas in prayer ; and we receive the grace of God 
in them in vain, if we do not make that use of them, and 
sue out the benefits conveyed and secured by them. These 
are talents to be traded with, and improved as the guide of 
our desires, and the ground of our faith in prayer, and we 
must not hide them in a napkin. Having here taken hold 
of the covenant, thus we must take hold on God for coven- 
ant mercies. " Lord remember the word unto thy servant, 
upon which thou hast caused me to hope." Thou hast not 
only given me the word to hope in, but the heart to hope in 
it. It is a hope of thy own raising, and thou wilt not des- 
troy, by a disappointment, the work of thy own hands. 

Come therefore, O my soul, come order thy cause before 
him, and fill thy mouth with arguments. Lord, is not this 
the word which thou hast spoken, " Sin shall not have do- 
minion over you, the God of peace shall tread Satan under 
your feet ? There shall no temptation take you, but such 
as is common to men, and the faithful God will never suf- 
fer you to be tempted above what you are able." Lord, be 
it unto thy servant according to these words. Is not this 
the word which thou hast spoken, " That all things shall . 
work for good to them that love thee ; that thou wilt be to 
them a God all-sufficient, their shield, and their exceeding 
great reward ; that thou wilt give them grace and glory^ 


and withhold no food thiof from th^n ; that thoa ^t ne- 
Ter fail them, dot fosake them." Now, Lord, let tbos9 
words which thoa hast spokoi concemiiig thy servant (and 
many other the like,) be established dor ever, and do aa 
thou hast said ; lor they are the words upon which thoa 
bast caused me to hope. 

2d, We must pray, that he enable as to fulfil these prom- 
ises which we have made to him in this ordinance. Da- 
vid's prayer for this is, *' O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, 
and of Israel our fathers, keep ibis for ever in the imagin- 
ation of the thoughts of the hearts of thy people, and pre- 
pare, or confirm their hearts unto thee." Have there been 
some good affections, good desires, and good resolutions 
in the imagination of the thoughts of our hearts at this or- 
dinance, some good impressions made upon us, and some 
good expressions drawn from us by it ? We cannot but be 
sensible how apt we are to lose the good we havi^ wrought, 
and therefore it is our wisdom by prayer to commit the keep- 
ing of it to God, and earnestly to beg of him effectual grace, 
thoroughly to furnish us for every good word and work, 
aud thoroughly to fortify us against every evil word and 
work. We made our promises in the strength of the grace 
of God, that strength we must therefore pray for, that we 
may be able to make good our promises. Lord maintain 
thine own interest in my soul ; let thy name be ever hal- 
lowed there, tJiy kingdom come, and thy will be done in 
my heart, as it is done in heaven. 

AVhen v^^e come away from this ordinance, we return to 
a cooling, tempting, distracting world; as when Moses 
came down from the mount, where he had been with God, 
he found the camp of Israel dancing before the golden calf 
to his great disturbance. In the midst of such sorrows, 
and such snares as we are composed about with here, we 
shall find it no easy matter to preserve the peace and grace 
which we hoped we have obtained at the Lord's table: we 
must therefore put ourselves under the divine protection. 
Methinks it was with an affecting air of tenderness, that 
Christ said concerning his disciples, when he was leaving 
them, " Now I am no more in the world," the days of my 
temptation are at an end ; " l?ut these are in the world," 
they have their trial yet before them. What then shall I 


do for them? ''Holy Father, keep through thihe own 
name them which thou hast given me." That prayer of 
his was both the great example, and the great encourage- 
ment of our prayers. Now at the close of a sacrament, it 
is seasonable thus to address ourselves to God- — I have not 
yet put off this body ; I am not yet clear of this world ; yet 
I am a traveller exposed to thieves, yet I am a soldier ex- 
posed to enemies. Holy Father, keep through thine own 
name the graces and comforts thou hast given me ; for 
they are thine. Mine own hands are not sufficient for 
me ; O let thy grace be so, to preserve me to thy heavenly 

Immediately after the first administration of the Lord's 
Sapper, our Saviour, when he had told Peter of Satan's 
design upon him, added this comfortable word, " I have 
prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not ;" and that is it 
which we must pray for, that this faith, which we think is 
so strong in the day of its advantage, may not prove weak 
in the day of its trial ; for, as they who would have the 
benefit of the Spirit's operation, must strive for themselves ; 
so they that would have the benefit of the Son's interces- 
sion, must pray for themselves. 

7. We should come from this ordinance with a charita- 
ble disposition. — Anciently the Christians had their love- 
feasts, or feasts of charity, annexed to the Eucharist ; but 
what needed that, while the Eucharist itself is a love-feast 
and a feast of charity ? And surely that heart must be 
strangely hardened and soured, that can go from under the 
softening sweetning powers of this ordinance in an unchari- 
table frame. v> 

The fervent charity which we now should have among 
ourselves, must be a loving, giving, and forgiving charity. 
Thus it must have its perfect work. 

We must come from this ordinance with a disposition to 
love our fellow-Christians. Here we see how dear they 
were to Christ, hi he purchased them with his own blood ; 
and from thence we may infer how dear they ought to be, 
and how near they should lie to our hearts. Shall I look 
strangely upon them that have acquaintance with Christ ? 
or be indifferent towards them that he has sp much con- 
cern for? No; we that are many, being one bread and 


one bod J ; and haTing been all made to drink into ooe 
SfMril, m J heart shall be more clasel j knh than eTer to all 
the members of that one body, who are qniekened and 
acted bj that one Spirit. I hare here beheki the bean^ 
of the Lordy and thereSoie must k>fe his image wherever I 
see it on his sanctified ones. I have here joined myself to 
the Lord in an everlaiting covenant, ai^ thereby have 
joined myself in relation, and consequendy in aflfection to 
all those who are in the bond of the same covenant. I 
have here boond myself to keep Christ's commandments, 
and this is his commandment, *' that we love one another," 
and that brotherly love continue. 

Those from whom we differ in the less weighty matters 
of the law, though we agree in the great things of God, we 
should now ttaok of with particular thoughts of love and 
kindness, because from them our minds are most in temp- 
tation to be alienated ; and of those to whom we have 
given the right hand of feUowship in this and in other or- 
dinances, we should likewise be mindful with particular 
endearments, because of the particular relation we stand 
in to them, as our more intimate companions in the kingdom 
and patience of Jesus Christ. Yea, after such an ordi- 
nance as this, our catholic charity must be more warm and 
affectionate, more active, strong, and steadfast, and more 
victorious over the difficulties and oppositions it meets with; 
and, as the apostle speaks, we should ''increase and 
abound in love one towards another, and towards all men ;" 
and in all the fruits and instances of that love. 

We must come from this ordinance with a disposition to 
give to the poor and necessitous, according as our ability 
and opportunity is. It is tbe laudable custom of the 
churches of Christ, to close the administration of this ordi- 
nance with a collection for the poor ; to which we ought 
to contribute our share not grudgingly, or of necessity, 
but with a single^eye, and a willing mind, that our alms 
may be sanctified and accepted of God ; and not only to 
this, but to all other acts of charity, we must be more for- 
ward and free after a sacrament. Though our Saviour 
lived upon alms Hiimself, yet out of the little he had, he 
gave alms to the poor, particularly at the feast of the pass- 
over, to set us an example. Days of rejoicing and thanksgiv^ 


ing (and such our sacrament days are,) used to be thus 
solemnized; for, when we **eat the fat, and drink the 
sweet ourselves, we must send portions unto them for whom 
nothing is prepared," that, when our souls are blessing 
God, the loins of the poor may bless, us. If our hearts 
have here been opened to Christ, we must evidence they 
are so by being open-handed to poor Christians ; for, since 
our goodness cannot extend to him, it is his will that it 
should extend to them. If we have here in sincerity given 
ourselves to God, we have, with ourselves, devoted all we 
have to his service and honour, to be employed and laid 
out for him ; and thus we must testify that we have heartily 
consented to that branch of the surrender. " As we have 
opportunity, we must do good to all men, especially to 
them that are of the household of faith ; remembering that 
we are but stewards of the manifold grace of God." If 
our prayers have here come up for a memorial before God, 
as Cornelius', our alms, like his, must accompany them. 
We have seen here how much we owe to God's pity and 
bounty towards us ; having therefore obtained mercy, we 
ought to show mercy ; knowing the grace of the Lord Je- 
sus, " that though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became 
poor, that we through his poverty might be rich." 

We must come from this ordinance with a disposition to 
forgive those that have been provoking and injurious to 
us. Our approach to the sacrament made it necessary for 
us to forgive, but our attendance on it should make it even 
natural for us to forgive ; and our experience there is of 
God's mercy, and grace to us, should conquer all the diffi- 
culty and reluctancy which we are conscious to ourselves 
of therein, and make it as easy to forgive our enemies as 
it is to forgive ourselves, when at any time we have had a 
({uarrel with ourselves. That which makes it hard to for- 
give, and puts an edge upon our resentments, is the inag- 
nifying of the affronts we have received, and the losses we 
have sustained, Now, in this ordinance, we have had 
honours put upon us sufficient to balance all those affi-onts, 
and benefits bestowed on us sufficient to countervail all 
those losses ; so that we may well afford to forgive and 
forget both. With ourselves we ,have offered up to God 
our names, estates, and all our. interests; in compliance 


tbereibre with the will of God (that God who bids Shiinei 
curse David, and who took away from Job that which the 
Sabeans and Chaldeans robbed him of,) we must not only 
bear with patience the damage we sustain in those con- 
cerns, but must be charitably affected towards those that 
have beenJLhe instruments of that damage, knowing that 
men are in God's hand, and to his hand we must sdways 

But the great argument for the forgiving of injuries, 
when we come from the table of the Lord, is taken ft-om 
the pardons God hath in Christ there sealed to us. The 
jubilee trumpet which proclaimed releases, sounded at the 
close of the day of atonement. Is God reconciled to us t 
Let us then be more firmly than ever reconciled to our 
brethren. Let the death of Christ, which we have here 
commemorated, not only slay all enmities, but take down 
all partition walls ; not only forbid revenge, but remove 
strangeness ; and let all our feuds and quarrels be buried 
in his grave. Hath our Master forgiven us that great debt, 
and a very great debt it was, and ought we not then to have 
compassion ** on our fellow-servants ?" Let us therefore, 
who have in this ordinance put on the Lord Jesus Christ, 
put on, " as becomes the elect of God, holy and beloved, 
bowels of mercies and kindness, inclining us to forgive ; 
humbleness of mind and meekness," enabling us to con- 
quer that pride and passion which object against our for- 
giving, that if any man have a quarrel against any, it may 
be passed by, as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven us. 

8. We should come from this ordinance longing for 
heaven. Every good Christian lives in the belief of the 
life everlasting, which God, that cannot lie, hath promised, 
looking for the blessed hope ; and doubtless much of the 
power of godliness consists in the joyful expectation of the 
glory to be revealed. But though we should look upon 
ourselves as heathens if we did not believe it, and as des- 
perate if we had not some hopes of it. Yet we have all 
reason to lament it, as not only our infelicity, but our ini- 
quity, that our desires towards it are so weak and feeble. 
We are too apt to take up our rest here, and wish we might 
live always on this earth ; and we need something to make 
u3 hunger and thirst afler that perfect righteousness, that 


crown of righteousness, with which only we shall be filled. 
For this good end the Lord's Supper is .very improvable, 
to hasten us towards the land of promise, and carry out 
our souls in earnest breathings after the felicity of our fu- 
ture state. 

The complaints we find cause to exhibit at this ordi- 
nance, should make us long for heaven ; for whatever is 
defective and uneasy here, we shall be for ever freed from 
when we come to heaven. When here we set ourselves to 
contemplate the beauty of God and the love of Christ, we 
find ourselves in a cloud, we see but through a glass darkly ; 
let us therefore long to be there where the veil shall be 
rent, the glasses we now make use of laid aside, and we 
shall not only see face to face, but, «which will yield us 
more satisfaction, we shall see how we are seen, and know 
how we are known. When here we would soar upwards 
upon the wings of love, we find ourselves clogged and pi- 
nioned ; this immortal spirit is caged in a house of clay^^ 
and doth but flutter at the best. Let us therefore long to 
be there, where we shall be perfectly delivered from all 
the incumbrances of a body of flesh, and all the entangle* 
ments of a world of sense ; and love in its highest eleva- 
tions, and utmost enlargements, shall survive both faith 
and hope. When here we would fix for God, and join 
ourselves closely to him, we find ourselves. apt to wander, 
apt to waver, and should therefore long to be there, where 
our love to God will be no longer love in motion, constant 
motion, as it is here, but love at rest, an everlasting rest. 
Here we complain, that, through the infirmity of the flesh, 
we are soon weary of well doing ; and, if the spirit be wil- 
ling, yet the flesh is weak, and cannot keep pace with it ; 
but there we shall run and not be weary, we shall walk 
and not faint ; and shall not rest, because we shall not need 
to rest day nor night from praising God. O when shall I 
come to that world where is neither sin, nor sorrow, nor 
snare ; and to the spirits of just men made perfect there, 
who are as the angels of God in heaven ! 

The comforts which through grace we experience in 
this ordinance, should make us long for heaven. The 
foretastes of those divine joys should whet our appetites 
after the full fruition of them. The bunch of grapes that 


meets us in this wilderness should make us long to be iu 
Canaan, that land of overflowing plenty, where we shall 
wash our garments in thip wine, and our clothes in the 
blood of the grape. If communion with Grod and grace 
here afford us such a satisfaction, as surpasseth all the de- 
lights of the sons of men, what will the fulness of joy be 
in God's presence, and those pleasures for ever more ? If 
the shadows of good things to come be so refreshing, what 
will the substance be, and the good things themselves? 
If God's tabernacles be so amiable, what will his temple 
be ? If a day at his courts, an hour at his table, be so 
pleasant, what then will an eternity within the vail be? 
If I find myself so enriched with the earnest of the pur- 
chased possession, what then will the possession^itself be? 
If the joy of my Lord, as I am here capable of receiving 
it, and as it is mixed with so much alloy in this imperfect 
state, be so comfortable, what will it be when I shall enter 
into that joy, and bathe myself eternally in the spring- 
head of these rivers of pleasure ? 

Pant then, my soul, pant after those fountains of living 
water, out of which all these sweet streams arise ; that 
boundless bottomless ocean of delight into which they all 
run. Rest not content with any of the contentments here 
below ; no, not with those in holy ordinances (which are 
of all others the best we meet with in this wilderness,) 
but long for the enjoyments above in the vision of God. It 
is good to be here, but it is better to be there ; far better to 
depart, and be with Christ. Whilst thou art groaning un- 
der the burdens of this present state, groan after the glo- 
rious liberties of the children of God in the future state. 
Thirst for God, for the living God ; O when shall I come 
and appear before God ? That the day may break, and the 
shadows flee away, " make haste, my beloved, and be thou 
like to a ro^, or to a young hart upon the mountains of 






Wb will now suppose the new moon to be gone, the 
Sabbath to be past, and the solemnities of the sacrament 
day to be over ; and is our work now done ? No ; now 
the most needful and difficult part of our work begins ; 
which is, to maintain such a constant watch over ourselves^ 
as that we may, in the whole course of our conversation, 
exemplify the blessed fruits and effects of our communion 
with God in this ordinance. When we come down from 
this mount, we must, as Moses did, bring the tables of the 
testimony with us in our hands, that we may in all things 
have respect to God's commandments, and frame our lives 
according to them. Then we truly get good by this ordi- 
nance, when we are made better by it, and use 'it daily as 
a bridle of restraint to keep us in from all manner of sin, 
and a spur of constraint to put us on to all manner of 

I shall endeavour, first, to give some general rules for 
the right ordering of the conversation after we have been 
at the Lord's Supper ; and then, secondly, I shall instance 
in somp particulars, wherein we must study to conform 
ourselves to the intentions of that ordinance, and abide 
under the influence of it. 

For the first, the Lord's Supper was instituted not only 
for the solemnizing of the memorial of Christ's death at 
certain times, but for the preserving of the remembrance 
of it in our minds at all times, as a powerful argument 
against every thing that is ill, and a prevailing inducement 
to every thing that is good ; in this sens^ we must ** bear 
about with us continually the dying of the Lord Jesus, so 
as that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our 


mortal bodies." It was instituted, not only for the sealing 
of the covenant, that it may be^ ratified, but for the im- 
printing of it upon our minds, that we may be ever mindful 
of the covenant, and live under the commanding pow- 
er of it. 

We must see to it that there be an agreement between 
our performances at the Lord's table, and at other times 
that we be uniform in our religion, and not guilty of a 
selfKX)ntradiction. What will it profit us, if we pull down 
with one hand what we build up with the other? And 
undo in our lives what we have done in our devotions 1 
That we may not do so, . let us be ruled by these 
rules: — 

1. Our conversation must be such as that we may adorn 
the profession which in the Lord's Supper we have made. 
We have in that ordinance solemnly owned ourselves the 
disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus ; we have done 
ourselves the honour to subscribe ourselves his humble 
4iervants, and he hath done us the honour to admit us into 
his family ; and now we are concerned to walk worthy of 
the vocation wherewith we are called ; that, our relation 
to Christ being so much an honour to us, we may never 
be a dishonour to it. We are said to be taken into cove» 
nant with God for this very end, that we may be unto him 
for '* a name, and for a praise, and for a glory," that we 
may be witnesses for him, and for the honour of his name 
among men. 

We must therefore be very cautious, that we never say 
or do any thing to the reproach of the gospel, and Christ's 
holy religion, or which may give any occasion to the ene- 
mies of the Lord to blaspheme. If those that profess to be 
devout towards God, be unjust and dishonest towards men^ 
this casts reproach upon devotion, as if that would consist 
with, and countenance immorality. If those who call them- 
selves Christians walk as other Gentiles walk, and do Sa^ 
tan's drudgery in Christ's livery, Christianity suffers by it, 
and religion is wounded in the house of her friends. In- 
juries are done which cannot be repaired ; and those will 
have a great deal to answer for another day, for whose sakes 
the name of God and his doctrine are thus evil spoken of. 
Sy our coming to the Loid'a Sw^^er^ we distinguish our- 


selves from those whose profession of Christianity, by their 
being baptized in infancy, seems to be more their chance 
than their choice ; and, by a voluntary act of our own, we 
surname ourselves by the name of Israel ; now, if afler we 
have thus distinguished ourselves, and so raised the expec- 
tations of our neighbours from us, we do that which is un- 
. becoming the character we bear, if we be vain, and carnal, 
and intemperate, if we be false and unfair, cruel and un- 
. merciful, what will the Egyptians say? They will say, 
commend us to the children of this world, if these be the 
children of God ; for what do they more than others ? Men's 
prejudices against religion are hereby confirmed, advan- 
' tage is given to Satan's devices, and the generation of the 
righteous is condemned for the sake of those who are spots 
in their feasts of charity. Let us therefore always be jeal- 
ous for the reputation of our profession, and afraid of doing 
that which may in the least be a blemish to it ; and the 
greater profession we make, the more tender let us be of it, 
because we have the more eyes upon us, that watch for our 
halting ; when we do good, we must remember the apostle's 
caution, " Let not your good be evil spoken of." 

We must also be very studiqus to do that which will re- 
dound to the credit of our profession. It is not enough 
that we be not a scandal to religion, but we must strive to 
be an ornament to it, by excelling in virtue, and being for- 
ward to every good work. Our light must shine as the 
face of Moses did, when he came down from the mount ; 
that is, our good works must be such, as that they who see 
them, may give religion their good word, and thereby " glo- 
rify our Father which is in heaven." " Our conversation 
must be as becomes the gospel of Jesus Christ,'' that they 
who will not be won by the word, may be won by it to say, 
" We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with 
you. If there be any virtue, if there be any praise more 
amiable and lovely than another, let us think on these 
things." Are we children ? Let us walk as obedient chil- 
dren, well taught, and well managed. Are we soldiers? 
Let us approve ourselves good soldiers, well trained and 
well disciplined ; so shall we do honour to him that hath 
called us. If God's Israel carefully keep and do his stat- 
utes^ it will be said of them to their honouc ^.mow^^^"^^*- 


tion^, '^ Sarelj thej are a wise and anderstanding pec^Ie." 
And this will redoufid to the honour of Christ ; for thus 
wisdom is justified of her children. 

2. Our conversation must be such as that we may fblfil 
the engagements which at the Lord's Supper we hare laid 
ourselves under. Having at God's altar sworn that we will 
keep his righteous judgments, we must conscientiously per- 
form it in all the instances of a holy, righteous, and sober 
conversation. The vows we have made, express or impli- 
cit, must be carefully made good by a constant watchfulness 
against all sin, and a constant diligence in all doty ; be- 
cause, " better it is not to vow, than to vow and not to pay." 

When we are at any time tempted to sin, or in danger of 
being surprised into any ill thing, let this be our reply to 
the tempter, and with this let us quench his fiery darts, 
" Thy vows are upon me, O God. Did I not say, I will 
take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue? I 
did say so, and therefore I will keep my mouth as with a 
bridle." Did not I make a covenant with mine eyes ? I 
did ; that therefore shall be to me a covering of the eyes, 
that they may never be either the inlets or outlets of sin. 
Did I not say, ** I will not transgress ? 1 did so ; and there- 
fore, by the grace of God, I will ** abstain from all appear- 
ance of evil, and have no fellowship with the unfruitful 
works of darkness/' An honest man is as good as hb 

When we begin to grow slothful and careless in our duty, 
backward to it, and slight it, let this stir up the gift that is in 
us, and quicken us to every good word and work. " O my 
soul, thou hast said unto the Lord thou art my Lord ;" thou 
hast said it with the blood of Christ in thy hand ; " he is 
thy Lord then, and worship thou him." " When a lion in 
the way, a lion in the streets," deters us from any duty, and 
we cannot plough by reason of cold, nor sow or reap for 
fear of winds and clouds," let this help us over the difficulty 
with a steady resolution — It is what I have promised, and 
I must perform it ; I will not, I dare not be false to my God 
and my covenant with him : " I have opened my mouth 
unto the Lord, and, without incurring the guilt of perjury, 
I cannot go back." 

3. Our conversation must be such, as that we may make 


some grateful returns for the favojars which we have hero 
received. The law of gratitude is one of the laws of na- 
ture ; for the ox knows his owner, and the ass his master's 
crib; and some have thought that all our gospel-duty may 
very fitly be comprised in that of gratitude in our Redeem- 
er. In the Lord's Supper we see what Christ hath done 
for us, and we receive what he bestows on us ; and in con- 
sideration of both we must set ourselves, not only to love 
and praise him, but to walk before him in the land of the 
living ; that though we cannot return him any equivalent 
for his kindness, yet, by complying with his will, and con- 
sulting his honour, we may show that we bear a grateful 
mind, and would render again according to the benefit done 
unto us. 

By wilful sin after a sacrament, we load ourselves with 
the guilt, not only of treachery but of base ingratitude. It 
was aggravation of Solomon's apostacy, that " he turned 
from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him 
twice." More than twice, yea, many a time hath God ap- 
peared, not only for us in his providences, but to us in his 
ordinances, manifesting himself in a distinguishing way to 
us, and not unto the world ; now, if we carry ourselves 
strangely to him who hath been such a friend to us, if we 
affront him who hath so favoured us, and rebel against him 
who hath not only spared but ransomed us, we deserve to 
be stigmatized with a mark of everlasting infamy, as the 
most ungrateful wretches that ever God's earth bore, or his 
sun shone upon. Foolish people and unwise are we, thus 
to requite the Lord. Let us therefore reason thus with our- 
selves, when at any time we are tempted to sin. After he 
hath given us such a deliverance as this, shall we again 
break his commandments ? Shall we spit in the face, and 
^urn at the bowels of such loving kindness ? After we 
have eaten bread with Christ, shall we go and lift up the 
heel against him ? No, God forbid ; we will not continue 
in sin after grace has thus abounded. 

By an exact and exemplary conversation, we show our- 
selves sensible of the mighty obligations we lie under to 
love him, and live to him who loved us, and died for us ; 
we should, therefore, from a principle of gratitude, always 
abound in the work of the Lord, and lay out ourselves witli 


zeal and cheerfulness in his service ; thinking nothing too 
much to do, too hard to suffer, or too dear to part with, for 
him that hath done and suffered, and parted with so ranch 
for us. Let the love of Christ constrain us. 

4. Our conversation must be such as that we may pre- 
serve the comforts which we have tasted in the Lord's ISup- 
per. Have we been satisfied with the goodness of God's 
house ? Let us not receive the grace of God therein in 
vain, by the forfeiture or neglect of those satisfactions. 
Fear the Lord and his goodness ; that is, fear lest you sin 
against that goodness, and so sin it away. Have we re- 
ceived Christ Jesus the Lord ? Let us hold fast what we 
have received, that no man take our crown, and the com- 
fort of it. Hath God here spoken peace to us ? Let us then 
never return to folly, lest we break in upon that peace God 
hath spoken ; it is a jewel too precious to be pawned, as it 
is by the covetous for the wealth of this world, and by the 
voluptuous for the pleasures of the flesh. Have we tasted 
that the Lord is gracious ? Let us not put our mouths out 
of taste to those spiritual and divine pleasures by any car- 
nal delights and gratifications. Hath Grod made us to hear 
joy and gladness ? Let us not set ourselves out of the hear- 
ing of that joyful sound, by listening to the voice of Satan^s 
charms, charm he ever so wisely. 

If we walk loosely and carelessly afler a sacrament, we 
provoke God to hide his face from us, to take from us the 
cup of consolation, and to put into our hands instead of it 
the cup of trembling, we cloud our evidences, shake our 
hopes, and wither our comfort, and undo what we have 
been doing at this ordinance. That caution, therefore, 
which the apostle gives to the elect lady and her children, 
should be ever sounding in our ears, " Look to ourselves, 
that we lose not the things which we have wrought ;" or, 
as the margin reads it, " the things that we have gained." 
Let us not, by our own folly and neglect, lose the benefit 
of what we have done, and what we have got at the Lord's 

Especially, we should take heed lest Satan get an advan- 
tage against us, and improve that to our prejudice, which 
we do not take due care to improve as we ought to our ben- 
efit. Afler the sop, Satan entered into Judas. If the con* 


&rts which wc think we have received in this ordinance do 
not make us more watchful, it is well if they do not make 
us more secure. If they be not a savour of life unto life, 
by deterring us from sin. there is danger lest they prove a 
savour of death unto death, by hardening us in sin. It 
was one of the most impudent words which that adulterous 
woman spoke, and she spoke a great many, when she al- 
lured the young man into her snares : " I have peace-offer- 
iugs with me this day, I have paid my vows, therefore came 
I forth to meet thee." I have confessed, and been absol«- 
ved, and therefore can the better afibrd to begin upon a 
new score j I know the worst of it ; it is but being confess 
5cd aud absolved again ; but shall we continue in sin, be*- 
cause grace hath abounded, and that grace may abound 1 
God forbid ; far be it, far be it from us ever to entertain 
such a thought. Shall we suck poison out of the balm of 
Gilead, and split our souls upon the rock of salvation ? Is 
Christ the minister of sin ? Shall the artifices of our spir- 
tual enemies turn this table into a snare, and that on it^ 
which should be for our welfare, into a trap ? Those are 
but pretended comforts in Christ, that are thus made real 
supports in sin : " Be not deceived, God is not mocked." 
lIcU will be hell indeed to those who thus "trample under 
foot the blood of the covenant as an unholy thing, and do 
despite to the Spirit of grace." Their case is desperate, 
indeed, that are embolden in sin by their approaches to 

5. Our conversation must be such as that we may evidence 
the communion we have had with God in Christ at the Lord's 
table. It is not enough to say that we have fellowship with 
liim ; the vilest hypocrites pretend to that honour ; but, by 
walking in darkness, they disprove their pretensions, and 
give themselves the lie. We must therefore show that we 
have fellowship with him, by walking in the light and as 
he also walked. By keeping up communion with God in 
providences, having our eyes ever towards him, and ac- 
knowledging him in all our ways; receiving all our com- 
forts as the gifts of his bounty, and bearing our afflictions 
as. his fatherly chastisements, we evidence that we have had 
communion with him in ordinances. They that converse 
much with scholars evidence it by the tongue of the learned"; 


as one may likewise discover by the politeness and rcfincdness 
a man's air and mien, that his conversation hath been 
much with persons of quality : thus they that have commu- 
nion with the^holy God, should make it appear in all holy con< 
versation, not suffering any corrupt communication to pro- 
ceed out of their mouth, but abounding in that which is 
good, and to the use of edifying, that, by our speech and 
behaviour it may appear to what country we belong. 

When Peter and John acquitted themselves before the 
council with such a degree of conduct and assiu'ance, as 
one could not have expected from unlearned and ignorant 
men, not acquainted with courts, or camps, or academics ; 
it is said, that they who marvelled at it, *'took knowledge 
of them that they had been with Jesus." And from 
those who had been with Jesus, who had followed him, sat 
at his feet, and eaten bread with him, very great things 
might be expected. In this ordinance we have been with 
Jesus, we have been seeing his beauty, and tasting his 
sweetness ; and now we should live so, as that all who con- 
verse with us may discern it, and by our holy, heavenly 
converse, may take knowledge of us that we have been 
with Jesus. 

For the second thing proposed, let us instance in some 
particulars wherein we ought, in a special manner, to ap- 
prove, ourselves well after this solemnity, that, ** as we have 
received Jesus Christ the Lord, we may so walk in him." 

After we have been admitted into communion with God, 
and have renewed our covenants with him at his table, it 
behooves us to be careful in these six things : 

1. We must see to it that we be sincerely devout and 
pious. — It is not enough that we live soberly and righteous- 
ly, but we must live godly, in this present world, and our 
sacramental engagements should stir us up to abound therein 
more and more. After an interview with our friends, by 
which mutual acquaintance is improved, and mutual affec- 
tions confirmed, we are more constant and endearing in 
our correspondence with each other ; so we should be with 
God after this ordinance, more frequent in holy ejaculations, 
and breathings of soul towards God, intermixed even with 
common business and conversation; more abundant in 
reading, meditatioD| and solemn prayer ; more diligent in 


our attendances on public ordinances, more fixed and en* 
larged in closet devotions, and more lively and affectionate 
in our family worship. Those religious exercises wherein 
we have formerly been remiss and careless, easily per- 
suaded to put them by, or put them off, we should now be 
more constant to, and more careful in, more close in our 
application to them, and more serious in our performance 
of them. 

If we have indeed found that it is -good for us to draw 
near to God we will endeavour to keep near him, so near 
him^ as upon every occasion to speak to him, and to hear 
from him. If this sacrament has been our delight, the 
word will be our delight, and we will daily converse with 
it ; prayer will be our delight, and we will give ourselves 
to it, and continue instant in it. They that have been 
feasted upon the sacrifice of atonement, ought to abound 
in sacrifices of acknowledgment, the spiritual sacrifices of 
prayer and praise, and a broken heart, which are accepta- 
ble to God through Christ Jesus ; and, having in our flock 
a male, we must offer that, and not a corrupt thing. 

It is the shame of many who are called Christians, and 
have a name and a place in God's family, that they are as 
backward and indifferent in holy duties, as if they were 
afraid of doing too much for God and their own souls, and 
as if their chief care were to know just how much will 
serve to bring them to heaven, that they may do no more. 
They can be content to go a mile, but they are not willing 
to go twain. And doth it become those on whom God 
hath sown so plentifully, to make their returns so sparing- 
ly ? Ought we not rather to enquire what free-will offer- 
ings we may bring to God's altar f And how w« may do 
more in religion than we have used to do 1 They that 
have found what a good table God keeps, and how wel- 
come, they have been to it, should desire to dwell in his 
house all the days of their life ; and blessed are they that 
do so, '' they will be still praising him." 

2. We must see to it that we be conscientiously just and 
honest. — We not only contradict our profession, and give 
ourselves the lie, but we reproach the religion we profess, 
and give it the lie, if after we have been at this sacrament, 
we deceive or defiraud our brethren in asy matter ; for 


this is that which the Lord our God requires of us, that we 
do justly ; that is, that we never do wrong to any, in their 
body, goods, or good name ; and that we e?er study to ren- 
der to all their due, according to the relation we stand in, 
and the obligation we lie under to them. That, therefore, 
which is altogether just ('^justice, justice,"* as the word 
is,) '* thou shalt follow/' There are many who make no 
great pretentions to religion, and yet natural conscience, 
sense of honour, and a regard to the common good, keep 
them strictly just in all their dealings, and they would 
Bcorn to do a base and dishonest thing ; and shall &ot the 
bonds of this ordinance, ^dded to those inducements, res- 
train us from every thing that hath but the appearance of 
fraud and injustice ? A Christian, a communicant, and 
yet a cheat ! Yet a man not to be trusted, not to be dealt 
with, but standing on one's guard ! How can these be re- 
oonciled ? Will that man be true to his God, whom he 
hath not seen, that is false to his brother whom he hath 
seen ? Shall he be intrusted with the true riches, that is 
•* not faithful in the unrighteous mammon ?" 

Let the remembrance of our sacramental vows be always 
fresh in our minds, to give check to those secret covetings, 
which are the springs of all fraudulent practices, I have dis- 
claimed the world for a portion ; shall I then, for the com- 
passing of a little of its forbidden gain, wrong my brother, 
to whom I ought to do good, wrong my profession, which I 
ought to adorn, and wrong my own conscience, which I 
ought to keep void of offence ? God forbid ! I have like- 
wise renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, and pro- 
mised not to walk in crafliness ; " by the grace of (rod, I 
will therefore ever have my conversation in the world, in 
simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom." 
They that are so well skilled in the arts of deceit, as to 
save themselves from the scandal of it, and to be able to 
say with Ephraim, though he had the balances of deceit in 
his hands, *' In all my labours, they shall find no iniquity 
in me that were sin i" yet cannot thereby save themselves 
from the guilt of it, and the ruin that attends it ; for 
doubtless " the Lord is the avenger of all such." Those 
that cheat their neighbours, cannot cheat their God, but 
will prove in the end« to have cheated themselves into ev- 


erlasting misery ; and " what is man profitted, if he gain 
the whole 'world, and lose his own soul ?" 

3. We must see to it, that we he religiously meek and 
peaceable. — We must not only come from ^ this ordinance 
in a calm and quiet frame, but we must always keep our- 
selves in such a frame, fiy the meekness and gentleness 
of Christ, (which the apostle mentions as a most powerful 
charm, let us be wrought upon to be always meek and 
gentle, as those that have learned of him. The storms of 
passion that are here laid, must never be suffered to make 
head again ; nor must the enmities that are here slain, ever 
be revived. Having eaten of this gospel passover, we must 
all our life long keep the feast, without the '' leaven of ma- 
lice and wickedness." Having been feasted at wisdom's 
table, we must always abide under the conduct and influ- 
ence of that wisdom, which is ** first pure, and then peace- 
able, gentle, and easy to be entreated." God was greatly 
displeased with those that, after they released their bond 
servants, according to the law, recalled their releases, and 
brought them into subjection again. And so will he be 
with those who seem to set aside their quarrels when they 
come to the sacrament, but, as soon as the pang of their 
devotion is over, the heat of their passion returns, and they 
resume their quarrels, and revive all their angry resent- 
ments ; thereby making it to appear, that they did never 
truly forgive, and therefore were never forgiven of God. 

Let those that have had communion with God in this ordi- 
nance, be able to appeal to their relations and domestics, and 
all they converse with concerning this ; and to vouch them 
for witnesses, that they have mastered their passions, and 
are grown more mild and quiet in their families than some- 
times they have been ; and that even when they are most 
provoked, they know both how to hear reason, and how to 
speak it. Whatever others do, let us never give occasion 
to the enemies of the Lord to say, that the seriousness of 
religion makes men sour and morose, and that zeal in de- 
votion disposeth the mind to peevishness and passion ; but 
let us evidence the contrary, that the grace of God doth 
indeed make men good natured, and that the pleasures of 
serious godliness make men truly cheerful and easy to all 
about them. Having been here sealed ** to the day of re- 


demptioD, let us not grieve the Holy Spirit of God/' thai 
blessed dove ; and that we may now " let all bitterness, 
and wrathf and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking, be 
put away from vm, with all malice." 

4. We must see to it, that we be strictly sober and 
chaste. — Gluttony, and drunkenness, and fleshly lusts, are 
as great a reproach as can be to those that profess relation 
to Christ, and the expectation of eternal life. It becomes 
those that have been feasted at the table of the L6rd, and 
have there tasted the pleasures of the spiritual and divine 
life, to be dead to all the delights of sense, and to make it 
appear that they are so, by a holy indifferency to them. 
Let not the flesh be indulged to the prejudice of the spi- 
rit, nor provision made for the fulfilling of the lusts there- 
of. Have we been entertained with the dainties of hea- 
ven ? Let us not be desirous of the dainties of sense, nor 
solicitous to have the appetite gratified, and all our enjoy- 
ments to the highest degree pleasing. When our Lord 
had instituted his Supper, and gave this cup of blessing 
to his diesiples, he added, '' I will not drink henceforth 
of this fruit of the vine." Now welcome the bitter cup, 
the vinegar, and the gall ; teaching us after a sacrament to 
sit more loose than before to bodily delights, and to be 
better reconciled to hardships and disappointments in them. 
It was the sin and shame of the Israelites in the wilder- 
ness, that while they were fed with manna, angel's food, 
they lusted, saying, ** Who will give us flesh to eat?" And 
they sin after the similitude of that transgression, who, 
when they had eaten of the bread of life, and drunk of 
the water of life, yet continue to be as curious and careful 
about their meat anid drink, as if they knew no better 
things, and had their happiness bound up in them ; as if 
the kingdom of God were in this sense meat and drink, 
and a Turkish paradise were their heaven. Surely they 
that are of this spirit serve not our Lord Christ, but their 
own bellies. 

But if they thus shame themselves who indulge the flesh, 
thoug]' their reason remaineth with them ; what shall we 
think of those who by their intemperance put themselves 
quite out of possession of their own souls, unfit themselves 
for the service of God^ and level themselves with the 


beasts? A Christian, a communicant, and yet a tipler, a 
drunkard, and a companion with those that run to this ex- 
cess of riot ! This, this is the sin that hath been the scan- 
dal and ruin of ihany who, having begun in the spirit, 
have thus ended in the flesh; this is that which hath 
quenched the Spirit, hardened the heart, besotted the 
head, debauched the conscience, withered the profession^ 
and so hath slain its thousands, and its ten thousands. 
Against this sin, therefore, the Lord's prophet must cry 
aloud, and not spare ; of the danger of this, the watchmen 
are concerned to give warning ; and dare those who par- 
take ''of the cup of the Lord, drink of the cup of devils?" 
Can there be so much concord between light and darkness, 
between Christ and Belial ? No, there cannot ; these are 
contrary, the one to the other. If men's communicating 
will not break them off from their drunkenness, their 
drunkenness must break them off from communicating ; 
lor these are spots in our feasts of charity ; and, if God be 
true, '' drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God." 
Let me, therefore, with all earnestness, as one that desires 
to obtain mercy of the Lord to be faithful, warn all that 
profess religion and relation to Christ, to stand upon their 
guard against this snare, which hath been fatal to multi- 
tudes. As you tender the favour of God, the comforts of 
the Spirit, the credit of your profession, and the welfare of 
your own souls here and hereailer, take heed of being en- 
tangled in any temptations to sin ; shun the society of 
these evil doers, abstain from all the appearances of this 
sin ; watch and be sober ; he '' that loved us and washed 
us from our sins in his own blood, hath made us unto oui 
God kings and priests." Are we priests ? This was the 
law of the priesthood, and it was a law made upon occa- 
sion of the death of Nadab and Abihu, who probably had 
** erred through wine." "Do not drink wine or strong 
drink, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation." 
Are we kings ? " It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not 
for kings to drink wine ; lest they drink and forget the 
law." It is not for Christians to drink to excess, and to 
allow themselves in those riotings and revellings, which 
even the sober heathen condemned and abhorred. 
Adultery, fornication^ uncleanness, and lasciviousness, 


are likewise lusts of the flesh, and defiling to the soul, which, 
therefore, all those must carefully avoid that profess to be 
kd by the Spirit ; they are abominable things which the 
Lord hates, and which we also must hate. Are not our 
bodies temples of the Holy Ghost? Dare we then defile 
themt Are they not members of Christ? And shall we 
make them the members of a harlot? Let those that eat 
of the holy things, be holy both in body and spirit, and 
'' possess their vessels in sanctification and honour, and 
not in tlie lusts of uncleanness." Let those eyes never be 
guilty of a wanton look, that have here seen Christ evi- 
dently set forth crucified among us ; let not lewd, corrupt 
communication proceed out of that mouth into which God's 
covenant hath been taken; let not unclean lascivious thoughts 
be ever harboured in that heart in which the holy Jesus 
vouchsafes to dwell. Let those that have eaten of wis- 
dom's bread, and drunk of the wine that she hath mingled, 
never hearken to the invitations of the foolish woman, 
who courts the unwary to stolen waters, and bread eaten in 
secret, under pretence that they are sweet and pleasant ; 
'^ for the dead are there, and her guests are in the depths of 

5. We must see to it that we be abundantly charitable 
and beneficent. — It is not enough that we do no hurt, but 
if we would order our conversation aright, we must, as 
we have opportunity, do good to all men, as becomes those 
to whom Gk>d in Christ is good, and doth good, and who 
profess themselves the disciples and followers of him who 
went about doing good. Shall we be selfish and seek our 
own things only, who have here seen how Christ humbled 
and emptied himself for us? Shall we be sparing of our 
pains for our brethren's good, who have here seen Christ 
among us, as one that serveth, as one that suffereth, and 
as one who came not to be ministered unto, " but to min* 
ister, and to give his life a ransom fiur many ?" Shall we 
be shy of speaking to, or speaking for our pocur brethren, 
who have here seen our Lord Jesus not ashamed to own us, 
and intercede for us, notwithstanding our poverty and 
meanness ? Shall we be stra't handed in distributing to 
the necessities of the saints, who have here found Cbnst 
80 liberal and open ht n ied in imparting to us, not only 
the gospel of God, bui even his own soul? After ve 


have been at this ordinance, we should show how much 
we are affected with our receiving there, by being ready and 
forward '' to every good work ; because our goodness ex- 
tendeth not to God, it ought to extend to the saints that 
are in the earth." Thus we must be " followers of God 
as dear children ; we must walk in love, as here we see 
Christ hath loved us, and given himself for us." 

6th, We must see to it that we be more taken off from 
this world, and more taken up with another world. — A 
Christian then lives like himself, when he lives above the 
things that are seen, which are temporal, and looks upon 
them with a holy contempt, and keeps his eye fixed upon 
the things that are not seen, which are eternal, looking 
upon them with a holy concern. We are not of this world, 
but we are called out of it ; we belong to another world, 
and are designed for it ; we must, therefore, *' seek the 
things that are above, and not set-our affections on things 

The thoughts of Christ crticified should wean us from 
this world, and make us out of love with it. The world 
knew him not, but hated him ; the princes of this world 
crucified him ; but he overcame the world, and we also by 
&ith in him may obtain a victory over it ; such a victory 
over it, as that we may not be entangled with its snares, 
encumbered with its cares, or disquieted by its sorrows. 
By frequent meditation on the cross of Christ, '* the world 
will be crucified to us, and we to the world ;" that is, the 
world and we shall grow very indifferent one to another, 
and no love shall be lost between us. 

The thoughts of Christ glorified should raise our hearts 
to that blessed place where Christ '' sitteth on the right 
hand of God, and from whence we look for the Saviour." 
When we commemorate Christ's entrance within the vail 
as our forerunner, and have good hopes of following him 
shortly ; when we think of his being in paradise, and of 
our being with him ; how should our affections be carried 
out towards that joy of our Lord ? How studious should 
we be to do the work of heaven, conform to the laws of 
heaven, and converse as much as may be with the glorious 
society there? Having received the adoption of sons, we 
tshould improve our acquaintance with, and raise our ex- 
pectations of, the inheritance of sons. 





The Lord's Supper was intended for the comfort of 
good people, not onlj while they are actoally attending on 
God in it, but ever after; not only that their joy may be 
full, but that this joy may remain in them. It is a feast 
which was made for laughter ; not that of the fool, which 
determines in a sigh, and the end of it is heaviness, but 
that of tlie truly wise man, who hath learned to rejoice 
evermore, yea, to rejoice in the Lord always ; not that of 
the hypocrite, whose triumphing is short, and his joys but 
^' for a moment," but that of the sincere Christian, whom 
God causeth always ** to triumph in Christ." The water 
that Christ here gives, is designed to be a well of water, 
living water, sending forth " streams that make glad the 
city of our God." This feast, if it be not our own fault, 
will be to us a continual feast, a breast of consolation, 
from which we may daily suck and be satisfied. 

It is the will of God that his people should be a comfort- 
ed people, l^he most evangelical part of the prophecy of 
Isaiah begins with this, " Comfort ye, comfort ye, my peo- 
ple, saith our God." He takes pleasure in their prosperi- 
ty, he delights to see them cheerful, and to hear them sing 
at their work, and sing in his ways. Religion was never 
intended to make people melancholy ; wisdom's adversa- 
ries do her wrong if they paint her in mourning, and wis- 
dom's children do not do her right, if they give them occa- 
sion to do so ; for though they are, like St. Paul, as sor- 
rowful, yet they should be like him, always rejoicing; 
because, though they seem perhaps to have nothing, yet 
really " they possc^ss all things." So jgrood a master do we 
serve, that he hnth been pleased to combine interests with 
us, and so compound his glory and our comfort, that, in 
seeking the one we seek the other also. He hath made that 


fd be our duty, which is indeed our greatest privilege, and 
that is to delight ourselves always in the Lord, and to live a 
life of complacency in him. And it is the New Testament 
character of a Christian indeed, that he rejoiceth in Christ 

Good Christians have of all people most reason to rejoice 
and be comforted. As for those that are at a distance 
from God, and out of covenant with him, they have reason 
to be afflicted, and mourn and weep. " Rejoice not, O 
Israel, for joy as other people ; for thou hast gone a whor- 
ing from thy God." To them that eat of the forbidden tree 
of knowledge, this tree of life also is forbidden ; but those 
that devote themselves to God, have all the reason in the 
world to delight themselves in God. They that " ask the 
way to Zion with their faces thitherward, though they go 
weeping to seek the Lord their God," yet they shall go on 
rejoicing, when they have found him ; for they cannot but 
find the way pleasantness, and the paths of it peace. Have 
not they reason to smile, on whom God smiles ? If God 
hath put grace into the heart, hath he not put gladness 
there, and a new song into the mouth ? Is Christ pro- 
claimed king in the soul ? And ought it not to be done 
with acclamations of joy? Is the atonement received, and 
the true treasure found ? And shall we not rejoice with 
joy unspeakable ? Have we good hope through grace of 
entering shortly into the joy of our li)rd t And have we 
not cause now to rejoice in the hope of it ? 

Yet those who have so much reason to rejoice are often ' 
cast down and in sorrow, and not altogether without cause. 
This state of probation and preparation is a mixed state, 
and it is proper enough it should be so, for the trial and 
exercise of various graces, and that God's power may have 
the praise of keeping the balance even. In those whose 
hearts are visited by the day-spring from on high, the light 
is neither clear nor dark, it is neither day nor night. 
They have their comforts which they would not exchange 
for the peculiar treasure of kings and provinces ; but with- 
al they have their crosses under which they groan, being 
burdened. They have their hopes, which are an anchor 
to the soul, both sure and steadfast, entering into that 
within the vail ; but withal they have their fear«, for their 


warfare is not yet accomplished ; they have not yet attain- 
ed, neither are already perfect. They have their joys, 
such as the world can neither give nor take away, joys 
that a stranger doth not intermeddle with : but withal they 
have their griefs, their way to Canaan lies through a wit 
dcrnoss, and their way to Jerusalem through the valley of 
Baca. Their master was himself a man of sorrows, and 
acquainted with griefs, and they are to be his followers. 
While we are here, we must not think it strange, if, for a 
ieason, when need is, we are in heaviness; we cannot ex- 
pect to reap in joy hereafter, unless we now sow in tears. 
We must not therefore think that either the present hap- 
piness of the saints, which in this world they are to expect, 
or their present holiness, which in this world they are to 
endeavour, consists in such d^;ights and joys, as to leave 
no room for any mourning, ^nd sense of trouble ; no, 
there is a sorrow, that is a godly sorrow, a jealousy of our- 
selves, that is a godly jealousy. It is only a perfect love 
that casts out all fear, and all grief, which we are not to ex- 
pect in this imperfect state. AH tears shall not be wiped 
away from your eyes, nor shall sorrow and sighing quite 
flee away, till we come to heaven ; while we are here, we 
are in a valley of tears, and must conform to the temper of 
the climate ; we are at sea, and must expect to be tossed 
witli tempests; we are in the camp, and must expect to be 
alarmed ; while without are fighting, no wonder that with- 
in are fears. 

Our Lord Jesus hath therefore provided such comforts 
i(>r the relief of his people, in their present sorrowful state, 
as may serve to balance their griefs, and keep them form 
bein r pressed above measure ; and he hath instituted holy 
ordinances, and e$f>ecially this of the Lord's Supper, for 
the upplicatio:! of those comforts to them, that they may 
ue\er fear, nny never sorrow as those that have no hope 
or no joy. The covenant of grace, as it is ministered in 
the ererlastin^ gospel, hath in it a salve for every sore, a 
remedy for everv maladv, so that thev who have an interest 
in that covenant, and know it, mny triumph with blessed 
Paul, ** TlvMi.:h we are troubled on every side, yet we are 
not dislresso'l : ^K'rplexed sometimes, hut, thanks be lo 
Govi, not in do^iir ; persecuted by men, but not forsaken 


of God ; cast down and drooping, but not destroyed and 
lost.'' This is that which bears them up under all their 
burdens, comforteth them in all their griefs, and enables 
them to rejoice in tribulation ; God is theirs, and they are 
his, and he hath *' made with them an everlasting cove- 
nant, well ordered in all things, and sure ; and this is all 
their salvation, and all their desire, however it be." 

The word of God is written to them for this end " that 
their joy may be full — and that through patience and com- 
fort of the Scriptures they may have hope." Precious 
promises are there treasured up, to be the foundations of 
their faith and hope, and consequently the fountains of their 
joy. Songs of thanksgiving are there drawn up for them 
to refresh themselves with in their weary pilgrimage, and 
to have recourse to for the silencing of their complaints. 
Ministers are appointed to be tlie helpers of their joy, and 
to speak comfort to such as mourn in Zion. The Sabbath 
is the day which the Lord hath made for this very end, 
that they may rejoice and be glad in it. Prayer is appoint- 
ed for tlie ease of troubled spirits, that in it they may pour 
out their complaints before God, and fetch in comfort from 
him. ** Ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be 
full." This sacrament was ordained for the comfort of 
good Christians, for the confirmation of their faith, in or- 
der to the preservation and increase of their joy ; and 
they ought to improve it both for the strengthening of the 
habit of holy cheerfulness, and their actual encouragement 
against the several particular grievances of this present 
time. And there is no complaint, which a good Christian 
hath cause to make at any time, which he may not qualify, 
and keep from growing clamorous, by comforts drawn from 
what he hath seen and tasted, what he hath done and received 
at the Lord's table. Let us therefore be daily drawing water 
out of these wells of salvation ; and when our souls are cast 
down and disquieted within us, let us fetch arguments 
from our communion with God in this ordinance, both in 
chiding them from their despondency, and encouraging 
them to hope and rejoice in God. What is it that grieves 
and oppresses us ? Why is our countenance sad, and why 
go we mourning all the day long? Whatever the occasion of 


Ihe heaviness is, let it be weighed in the balance of the 
sanctuary, and I dare say, there is that comfort to be 
fetched from this ordinance, which is sufficient to be set 
in the scale against it, and outweigh it. Let us instance 
in some of the common causes of our trouble, and try what 
relief we may from hence be furnished with. 

1. Are we disquieted and discouragefl by the remem- 
brance of our former sins and provocations? — There is that 
here which will help to quiet and encourage us in reference 
to this. Conscience sometimes calls to mind the sins of 
the unconverted state, and charges them home upon the 
soul, especially if they were heinous and scandalous ; it re- 
peats the reproach of the youth ; rips up the old quarrels, 
and aggravates them ; rakes in the old wounds, and makes 
them bleed afresh ; and from hence the disconsolate soul 
is ready to draw such hard conclusions as those : — Surely 
it is impossible that so great a sinner as I have been, should 
be pardoned and accepted ; that such a prodigal should be 
welcomed home, and such a publican ever find mercy ! 
Can I expect to share in that grace which I so long slight- 
ed and sinned against ? Or to be taken into that coven- 
ant of which I have so often cast away the cords ? Will 
the holy God take one into the embraces of his love, that 
hath been so vile and sinful, and fitter to be made a monu- 
ment of his wrath ? Can there be any hopes for me ? Or, 
if there be some hope yet, can there be any joy ? If I may, 
through a miracle of mercy, escape hell at last, which I 
have deserved a thousand times, yet ought I not to weep 
mine eyes out, and to *' go soflly all my years in the bitter- 
ness of my soul.'' Ought not I to go down to the grave 
mourning ? Should not my soul refuse now to be comfort- 
ed, which so long refiised to be so convinced. 

These are black and sa dthoughts, and enough to sink 
the spirit, if we had not met with that at the Lord's table, 
which gives a sufficient answer to all these challenges. We 
have been great sinners, but there we have seen the 
great Redeemer, able to save to the uttermost all that 
come to God by him; and have there called him by 
that name of his, which is as ointment poured forth, 
'' the Lord our righteousness." Our sins have reached 
to the heavens, but there we^ have seen God's mer- 


cy in Christ reaching beyond the heavens. We have been 
wretchedly defiled in our own ways, but there we have seen, 
not only a laver, but a fountain opened for the house of Da* 
vid to wash in, . and have been assured that the blood of 
Christ cleanseth from ail sin, even that which for the hein- 
ousness of its nature, and the multitude of its aggravations, 
hath been as scarlet and crimson. That article of the co- 
venant, which is so expressive of a general pardon, hath 
been sealed to me upon gospel terms : '' For I will be mer« 
ciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins, and their ini- 
quities I will remember no more ;" and this 1 rely upon. 
Great sinners have obtained mercy, and why may not I ? 

And though a humble remembrance of sin will be of use 
to us all our days, yet such a disquieting remembrance of 
it as hinders our faith in Christ, and our joy in God, is by 
no means good ; even sorrow for sin may exceed due 
bounds, and penitents may be swallowed up with over much 
sorrow. The covenant of grace speaks not only pardon, 
but peace to all believers ; and not only sets the broken 
bones, but makes them to rejoice. When it saith, " Thy 
sins be forgiven thee," it saith also, " Son, Daughter, be of 
good che^r." It is the duty of those that have received 
the atonement, to take the comfort of it, and to " joy in 
God through our Lord Jesus Christ." Acts of self-denial, 
and mortification, are means and evidences of our sanctifi- 
•ation, and such as we ought to abound in ; but they are 
not the grounds of our justification ; it is Christ's blood that 
makes the sanctification, not our tears. Therefore we must 
not so remember former sins, as to put away present com- 
forts ; a life of repentance will very well consist with a life 
of holy cheerfulness. 

2. Are we disquieted and discouraged by the sense of 
our sins of daily infirmity ? — There is that here which will 
be a relief against this grievance also : I have not only for- 
mer guilt to reflect upon, contracted in the days of my ig- 
norance and unbelief, but alas ! I am still sinning, sinning 
daily. God knows, and my own heart knows, that in many 
things I do offend. I come short of the rule, and short of 
the glory of God every day, vain thoughts lodge within me, 
idle words proceed from me. If I would count either the 
t>ne or the other, they are more in number than the eand. 


When I think of the strictness and extent of the divine law, 
and compare my own heart and life with it, I find that in- 
numerable evils compass me about. ■ Neglects of duty are 
many, and negligences in duty are more. Who can teU 
how oft he offends ? If the righteous God should enter in- 
to judgment with me, and be extreme to mark what I do 
amiss, I were not able to answer him for one of a thousand. 
It might have been expected, that when the God of mercy 
kad, upon my repentance, forgiven the rebellions of my sin- 
ful state, taken me into his &ini]y, and made me as one of 
his hired servants, nay, as one of his adopted children, that 
I should have been a dutiful child, and a diligent servant ; 
but, alas ! I have been slothful and trifling, and in many 
instances undutiful ; I am very defective in my duty, both 
to my master, and to my fellow servants, and in many things 
transgress dally. For these things I weep, mine eyes, mine 
eyes run down with tears. 

But there is that in this ordinance which may keep us 
' from sinking under this burden, though we have cause 
enough to complain of it It is true, I am sinning daily, 
and it is my sorrow and shame that I am so ; but the me- 
morial of that great sacrifice which Jesus Christ offered 
once for all upou the cross, is therefore continually to be 
celebrated on earth, because the merit of it is continually 
pleaded in heaven, where Christ ever lives to make inter- 
cession in the virtue of his satisfaction. Having therefore 
celebrated the memorial of it at the table of the Lord, here 
in the outer court I ouj^ht to take the comfort, of tlie con- 
tinual etficacy of it within the veil, and its prevalency for 
the Ivouefit ot'all believers. The water out of the rock, the 
rock suutton, fallows God's Israel throuffh this wilderness, 
in the prtHMOUs streams of which, they that are washed are 
woloomo to wash their feet from the pollutions they contract 
in thoir dailv walk throusrh this defilinsr world : and the best 
hare neeii of this washincr. That needful word of caution, 
that we sin not« b immediately followed with thb word of 
comKMt. But *' if any man sin, we hare ao advocate with 
the Father f ' one to speak for us. and to plead our cause ; 
and he hath a jfood plea to put in oor bdialf ; for *' he is 
the propitiation for oor sins." 

Add to this« that the covenant of grace, which is aemied 


to US in this ordinance, is it so well ordered in all things 
and so sure, that every transgression in the covenant doth 
not presently throw us out of covenant. We do not stand 
upon the same terms that Adam in innocency did, to whom 
the least failure was fatal. No, to us God hath " proclaim- 
ed his name gracious and merciful, forgiving iniquity, trans- 
gression, and sin." If we mourn for our sins of daily in- 
firmity, are ashamed of them, and humble ourselves for 
them ; if we strive and watch, and pray against them, we 
may be sure they shall not be laid under our charge, but in 
Christ Jesus they shall be forgiven to us, for we are under 
grace, and not under the law. The God we are in coven- 
ant with is a God of pardon ; " With him there is forgive- 
ness." We' are instructed to pray for daily pardon as duly 
as we pray for daily bread, and are encouraged to come 
boldly to the throne of grace for mercy : so that, though 
there be a remembrance made of sin every day, yet thanks 
be to God there may be a remembrance made of the sacri- 
fice for sin ; by which an everlasting righteousness was 
brought in. 

3. Are we disquieted. and discouraged by sad remainders \ 
of indwelling corruption? — We may from thence derive 
support under this burden. All that are enlightened from 
on high, lament the original sin that dwelleth in them, a8 
much as the actual transgressions that are committed by . 
them ; not only that they are defective in doing their duty, 
but that they labour under a natural weakness and inability 
for it ; not only that they are often overtaken in a fault, but 
that they have a natural proneness and inclination to that 
which is evil. It was the bitter complaint of blessed Paul 
himself, " O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me 
from the body of this death." And it is the complaint of 
all that are spiritually alive, while they are here in this im- 
perfect state. 

The most intelligent find themselves in the dark and apt 
to mistake ; the most contemplative find themselves unfix- 
ed, and apt to wander : the most active for God find them- , 
selves dull and apt to tire ; when the Spirit, through grace, 
is willing, yet the flesh is weak ; and when we would do 
good, evil is present with us. Corrupt appetites and pas- 
sions often get head, and betray us into many indecencies. 


This nnkei the heart sad, and the hands fiseble ; and, hj 
reaaon of these remaining eorrapdons, many a good Chris- 
tian loseth the comfort of his gracesw Those Canaanhes 
hi the Jand are as thorns in the eyes, and goads in the ades 
of man¥ an Israelite. 

Bot be not cast down, roj soo] ; the coTenant whidi was 
sealed to thee at the tabie of the Lord, was a covenant of 
grace, which accepts sincerity as gospel perfection, not a 
coreoamt of innocencj, which accepts of nothing less than 
a sinless, spotless puritj. Were not these complaints pouT' 
ed out before the Lord, and did he not saj, '* My grace n 
safficient for thee?" And what canst tboa desire moret 
Was not orders giren at the banquet of wine, for the cru- 
cifying of the adversary and enemy, thb wicked Haman ; 
so that, though it be not yet dead, it is a body of death, and 
ere Jong it shall be put o^ forerer t Was it not there said 
to thee, was it not sealed, ^' that sin shall not have dominion 
over thee ; but the God of peace shall bruise Satan under 
thy feet shortly ;" so that, though he may for a white dis- 
turb thy peace, and his troops may foil thee, yet, like Gad 
in Jacob's blessing, thou shalt '' overcome at the last V 
" The braised reed shall not be broken, nor the smoking 
flax quenched, but judgment shall in due time be brought 
forth into victory." Grace shall get the upper hand of cor- 
r iption, and be a conqueror, yea, " more than a conqueror^ 
tijrough him that loved us.— Come then, come set thy feet 
upon the necks of these kings," and rejoice in the hope of 
a complete victory at last. These lusts which war against 
thee, make war with the Lamb too, and oppose his inter- 
ests ; but, for certain, " the Lamb shall overcome them ; 
for he is the Lord of lords, and King of kings, and they 
that are with him are called, and chosen, and faitliful." 
Thou hast seen on how firm a rock the kingdom of God 
within thee is built, and mayest be sure that the gates of 
heli shall not prevail against it. Christ hath given thee a 
banner to be displayed because of the truth ; " and through 
him thou shalt do valiantly, for he it is that shall tread down 
thine enemies." 

Go on, my soul, go on to fight the Lord's battles, by a 
vigorous resistance of sin and Satan ; maintain a constant 
guard upon all the motions of thy spiritual enemies^ hold up 


the shield of faith, and draw the sword ofithe Spirit against 
their assaults. Suppress the first risings of corruption, 
make no provision for it, resolve not to yield to it, walk in 
the Spirit, that thou mayest not fulfil the lusts of the flesh ; 
never make league with these Canaanites, but vex these 
Midianites, and smite them ; mortify this body of death and 
all its members ; strengthen such principles, and dwell up> 
on such considerations as are proper for the weakening of 
the power of sinful lusts ; and then, be of good comfort,, 
this house of Saul shall wax weaker and weaker, and the 
house of David stronger and stronger. Thou hast seen^ 
my soul, thou hast tasted the bread and wine which the 
Lord Jesus, that blessed Melchizedek, hath provided for 
the support and refreshment of all the followers of faithful 
Abraham, when they return weary (and wounded perhaps) 
from their spiritual conflicts. Make use of this provision 
then, feast upon it daily, and go on in the strength of it. 
Thank God (as St. Paul did in the midst of these com- 
plaints) for Jesus Christ, who not only hath prayed for thee^ 
that you fail not, but is now, like Moses, interceding on the 
top of the hill, while thou art, like Joshua, fighting with 
these Amalekites in the valley. Be faithful therefore un- 
to the death, and thou shalt shortly have a place in that 
new Jerusalem, into which no unclean thing can enter. 
Now thou groanest, being burdened, but in heaven there 
shall be none of those complaints, nor any c^use for them. 
4. Doth thy trouble arise from prevailing doubts and fears 
about thy spiritual state ? We may draw that from this or- 
dinance which will help us to silence those fears, and solve 
those doubts, and to clear it tip to us that God in Christ is 
ours, and we are his, and that all shall be well shortly. 
Many good Christians, though they are so willing to hope 
the best concerning themselves, as not to decline coming 
to the Lord's table, and there perhaps they may meet with 
satisfaction ; yet afterwards the tide of their comforts ebbs^ 
a sadness seizeth their spirits, the peace they have had they 
suspect to have been a delusion, and are ready to give up 
all for gone ; unbelief makes hard conclusions, clouds the 
evidences, shakes the hopes, withers the joys ; that it is as 
good to give up all pious pursuits, as thus keep them up in 
Tain ; as good make a captain, and return into Egypt, as 


perish in the wilderness, for this is not the way to Canaan. 
And thus many are kept by unbelief from entering into the^ 
present Sabbatism or rest, which is intended for the people 
of God in this life. 

But, ** O thou of little faith, wherefore dost thou doubt?" 
Come, cali to remembrance the former days, the former sa- 
crament days, and the sweet communion thou hadst with 
God in them ; days never to be forgotten. Thou doubtest 
whether God loves thee, and thou art ready to say as they 
did, " Wherein hath he loved me ?" But dost thou not re- 
member the love tokens he gave thee at his table, when 
he embraced thee in the arms of his grace, kissed thee with 
the kisses of his *' mouth, and his banner over thee was 
love ?" Thou doubtfest whether thou be a child of God, 
and a chosen vessel or not, and are sometimes tempted to 
say, " Surely the Lord hath utterly separated me from his 
people, and I am a dry tree." ** How shall he set me 
among the children, and give me a pleasant land ?" But 
dost thou not remember the children's bread thou hast been 
fed with at thy Father's table, and the Spirit of adoption 
there sent forth into thy heart, teaching thee to cry, Abba, 
Father ? Thou calledst thyself a prodigal, and no more 
worthy to be accounted a son, because thou didst bear the 
reproach of thy youth, which made thee ashamed, yea even 
confounded But did not God, at the same time, call thee, 
as he did penitent Ephraim, a dear son, a pleasant child ; 
were not his bowels troubled for thee ? And did he not 
say, I will surely have mercy on thee ? Did not thy Father 
meet thee with tender compassions ? Did he not call for 
the best robe, and put it on thee ? Did he not invite thee 
to the fatted calf? and, which was best of all, give thee a 
kiss which sealed thy pardon ? And wilt thou now call 
that point in question which was then so well settled ? ** Is 
God a man, that he should lie, or the son of man, that he 
should repent ?" No ; " He is God. and not man." Thou 
doubtest whether Christ be thine or not ; whether thou hast 
any interest in his mediation and intercession ? Whether he 
died for thee or not. But didst thou not, at his table, ac- 
cept of him to be thine, and consent to him upon his own 
terms? Didst thou not say to him, with thy finger in the 
print of the nails, '' My Lord and my God?'' Aad did 


he not answer thee with good and comfortable words, say- 
ing unto thee, I am thy salvation ? Hast thou revoked the 
bargain ? Or, dost thou fear that he will revoke it ? Was 
it not an everlasting covenant, never to be forgotten ? 
Why art thou troubled ? And why do doubts arise in thy 
heart ? Was not Christ present with thee, and did he 
not show himself well affected to thee, when, at ihis table, 
he said unto thee, ** Behold my hands and my feet, that 
it is I myself?" Thou doubtest whether thou hast any 
grace or not, any love to God, any faith, any repent- 
ance. But hast thou forgotten God's workings on thy 
heart, and the workings of thy heart towards God at 
his table ? Did not thine heart burn within thee when thy 
dear Redeemer talked with thee there ? Didst thou not 
sit down under his shadow with delight, and say, " It is 
good to, be here?'* Didst thou not desire a sign of the 
Lord, a token for good ? Did thou, not say, " Do not de- 
ceive me ?'' And was there not a token for good shown 
thee ? Was not thy heart melted for sin ? Was it not 
drawn out towards God ? Did it not appear that God was 
with thee of a truth ? Wherefore, then, dost thou doubt 
of that, of which thou hadst then such comfortable evi- 
dences? " Why say est thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O 
Israel ? My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment 
is passed over from my God ?'* Why dost thou entertain 
such hard thoughts of God and thy own state ? " Hast 
thou not known ? Hast thou not heard that the everlast- 
ing God, even fthe Lord, the Creator of the ends of the 
earth, fainteth not, neither is weary." 

And why art thou fearful and faint hearted ? Why dost 
thou look forward with terror and trembling, while thou hast 
so much reason to look forward with hope and rejoicing ? 
Alas, saith the troubled spirit, God hath cast me out of his 
sight, and I fear will cast off for ever, and will be favourable 
ho more ; I shall no more see the Lord, even the Lord in the 
land of the living! My comforts are removed, and all 
pleasant things are laid waste ! " My bones are dried, my 
hope is lost, and I am cut off for my part." But hearken to 
this, thou that thus fearest continually every day, dost thou 
not remember the encouragements Christ gave thee at his 
table to hope in him, and to expect all good from him ; did 


he not say, ** I will never leave thee nor forsake thee V^ 
And didst not thou promise, that thou wouldst never leave 
nor forsake him ? Nay, did not he proipise " to put hi^ 
fear into thy heart, that thou mightest not depart from him." 
He did, '* and is not he faithful that hath called thee," 
faithful that hath promised, who also will do it ? Thou 
art afraid that some time or other Satan will be too hard 
for thee, and thou shalt one day perish by his hand ; but 
hast thou not had that precious promise sealed to thee,, 
that '* the faithful God will never suffer thee to be tempted 
above what thou art able, but will with the temptation 
make a way for thee to escape ? His providence shall 
proportion the trial to the strength ; or, which comes all to 
one, his grace shall proportion the strength to the trial. 
Thou art afraid, that after all thou shalt come short ; that 
by reason of the violence of the storm, the treachery of 
the sea, and especially thine own weakness and unskilful- 
ness, thou shalt never be able to weather the point, and 
get safe into the harbour at last. But shall I ask thee^ 
Uiou that followest Christ trembling, *' Dost thou not know 
in whom thou hast believed 1" Is thy salvation instrusted 
with thyself, and lodged in your own hands ? No ; it is 
not. If it were, thou wouldst have reason to fear the loss 
of it. But hath not God committed it, and hast not thou 
committed it to the Lord Jesus ? And is not he " able to 
keep that which is committed to hiip against that day V 
That great day, when it shall be called for ? Is not that 
a divine power that keeps thee? A divine promise that 
(Secures thee ? Be not fearful then, '* Be not faithless, but 

5. Are we disquieted and discouraged by the troubles 
end calamities of this life ? From our communion with 
God in the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, we may bring 
comfort and support under all the afflictions of this present 
time, whatever they be. Our master instituted this sacra- 
ment on the nisfht wherein he was betrayed ; and soon 
after, he put off the body, and pleasantly said, " Now I 
am no more in the world ;" but when we have received 
this sacrament, we find ourselves still in a house of clay, 
liable to many shocks, and so close is the union between 
the soul and the body, that what toucheth the bone and 


the flesh cannot but affect the spirit at second hand. We 
are born and bom again to trouble ; besides, that we are 
exposed with others to the common calamities of human 
life, and the persecutions which all that will live goldly in 
Christ Jesus must count upon ; we are under the discipline 
of sons, and must look for chastisement. Afflictions are not 
only consistent with the love of God, but they flow from 
it : " As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.'' They 
are not only reconcilable with the covenant, but a branch 
of it. I will chasten their transgressions with the rod, and 
their sins with stripes, is an article of the agreement with 
David and his seed, with this comfortable clause added, 
" Nevertheless, my loving kindness will I not utterly take 
from him ; my covenant will I not break." 

There is no disputing against sense ; Christianity was 
not designed to make men stocks and stones, and Stoics 
under their calamities. ** No aflliction for the present is 
joyous, but grievous." Hence the best men, as they have 
tlieir share of trouble, so cannot but have the sense of it ; 
that is allowed them, they groan, being burdened ; but this 
sense of trouble is apt to exceed due bounds : it is hard 
to grieve and not to overgrieve ; to lay to heart an afflic* 
tion, and not to lay it too near the heart. When grief for 
an outward trouble overwhelms dUr spirits, imbitters our 
comforts, and hinders our joy in God, stops the mouth 
of praise, takes off her chariot wheels, and makes us drive 
heavily on our way to heaven ; then it is excessive and in- 
ordinate, and turns into sin to us. When sorrow fills the 
heart and plays the tyrant there, when it makes us fretful 
and impatient, breaks out in quarrels with God in his pro- 
vidence, and robs us of the enjoyment of ourselves, our 
friends, and our God ; it is an enemy that we are concern'^ 
ed to take up arms against. 

And from our sacramental covenants and comforts we 
may fetch plenty of arguments against the unreasonable 
insinuations of inordinate grief. Did I not see at the ta- 
ble of the Lord a lively representation of the sufferings of 
Christ, the variety and extremity of his sufferings ? Did 
I not see his tears, his sweats, his agonies, his stripes, the 
pain and shame he underwent ? And is the servant better 
than bis master, and the disciple than his Lord? Did 


Christ go by the cross to the crowii, and shall a Christian 
expect to go any other way ? The Captain of our salvation 
was made perfect through sufferings ; have not we much 
more need of them for the perfecting of what is lacking in 
us ? Is not this one part of our conformity to the image of 
Christ, that, as he was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with 
grief, so we should be, that he might be the first-born 
among many brethren? A sight of Christ's afflictions 
should reconcile us to our own, especially if we consider 
not only what he suffered, but how he suffered ; and with 
what an invincible patience and cheerful submission to his 
Father's will, leaving as example (1 Pet. ii. 21.) Have we 
celebrated the memorial of Christ's sufferings ? and have 
we not yet learned of him to say, " The cup that my Father 
hath given me shall I not drink it f Though it be a bitter 
cup, " Father, not my will, but thine be done. Have we 
not yet learned of him, who was led as a lamb to the. 
slaughter, to be dumb, and not to open our mouths against 
any thing that God doth ; to forgive our enemies, and pray 
for our persecutors, and cheerfully submit ourselves to 
him that judges righteously ? Let the same mind be in 
us which here we have seen to be in Jesus Christ. 

Yet this is not all : in the Lord's Supper we give up 
ourselves, and all we have unto the Lord, with a promise 
to acquiesce in all the disposals of his providence con- 
cerning us and ours : let us not therefore, by our discon- 
tent and uneasiness, revoke the surrender that we then 
made, or go counter to it. We there said it, and seal- 
ed it, that we would be the Lord's ; and may he not do 
what he will with his own, especially when it is so by our 
own consent ? God there said it, and sealed it to us, that 
he would be to us a Father ; and can we take any thing 
amiss from a Father ? Such a Father, who never chas- 
tens us, but for our own profit, that we may be partakers 
of his holiness? Inviolable assurances were there given 
to us, that all things should work together for our present 
good, and for our future glory ; that, as afflictions abound, 
consolations should so much the more abound ; and some 
experience we there had of the sweetness and power of 
those consolations, which we ought to treasure up, that we 
may have them ready fot o\w ^viyv^^^^ vci ibwc evil day. 
Can we forget how sweclOo^i'a ?,uiA^>N^t^^>n\i\0^ •Cs\^\^ 


we saw? How reviving * his comforts were, which we 
there tasted? JLnd are not those sufficient to countervail 
the loss of the world's flattering smiles, and the comforts 
we have in the creature ? It is generally supposed, that 
the comfortable sermon which Christ preached to his dis« 
ciples on that text, " Let not your hearts be troubled," im- 
mediately followed the administration of the Lord's Sup- 
per ; for it is the will of Christ, that those whom he hath 
raised up to sit with him by faith in heavenly places, should 
not be cast down or disquieted for any cross or disappoint- 
ment in earthly things. 

Art thou sick, languishing perhaps under some wasting 
distemper, which consumes thy strength and beauty like a 
moth ? Or chastened, it may be, with pain upon thy bed, 
and the multitude of thy bones with strong pain ? Or la- 
bouring under the infirmities and decays of old age? 
Take comfort then, from thy communion with the Lord at 
his table. Didst thou not see there how Christ himself bore 
our sicknesses, and carried our sorrows then, when h» 
bore our sins in his own body upon the tree, and so took 
away the sting of them ; extracted out of them the worm- 
wood and gall, which he himself drunk in a bitter cup, 
and infused into them the comforts of his love, which he 
hath given us to drink of ? Didst thou not there receive 
a sealed pardon ? Did not God, in love to thy soul, cast 
all thy sins behind his back, and tell thee so? Thou 
hast then no reason to complain of bodily distempers : 
** The inhabitants shall not say, I am sick." How so? 
Can one that is sick avoid saying, I am sick ? Why, it 
follows, " The people that dwell therein, shall be forgiven 
their iniquity." Sickness is next to nothing, to those who 
know that their sins are pardoned : when thou didst pre- 
sent thy body to God in that ordinance a living sacrifice, 
and didst engage that it should be for the Lord, was it not 
graciously added, — " and the Lord for the body ?" And if 
the Lord be for the body, he will strengthen thee upon the 
bed of languishing ; and though he may not presently help 
thee off it, yet he will sit by thee ; and " he will make all 
thy bed in thy sickness," And that bed cannot but be 
easy which he maketh. 


Art ^oa poor, crossed in thine- affairs, disappointed ia 
lawful and hopeful designs, clogged with cares, and per- 
haps reduced to straits 1 Let the spiritual riches secured 
to thee in that sealing ordinance, be a balance to the a^ 
iliction of outward poverty. The God of truth hath said 
it, and thou maye st rely upon it. That those that fear him 
and seek him, shall not want any good thing, not any thing 
that infinite wisdom sees really good for them. " Trust in 
the Lord, therefi>re, and do good with the little thou hast ; 
so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be 
fed." It is not promised that thou shalt be feasted with va- 
rieties and dainties ; those that are feasted at God's table, 
need not to complain, though they be not feasted at their 
own ; but thou shalt be fed, fed with food convenient for 
thee. Some good Christians that have been in a very poor 
condition have said, that they have made many a meal 
upon the promises, when they wanted bread. " Verily 
thou shalt be fed, be fed with faith." — " The just shall live 
by his faith." — Though the fig-tree do not blossom, and 
there be no firuit in the vine ;" yet, while thou hast in the 
Lord's Supper seen the rose of Sharon blossoming, tasted 
of the true vine, thou hast reason enough to " rejoice in 
the Lord, and joy in th^ God of thy salvation." 

Are thy relations a grief to thee ? Do those afilict thee of 
whom thou saidst, these same shall comfort me ? Suppose 
thy yoke-fellow unsuitable, children undutiful, parents un» 
kind, fi-iends ungrateful, neighbours injurious, the comfort 
of our relation to God may sufiice to make up the loss of 
any earthly comfort. If man be harsh, yet God is gracious. 
Though the waters of our rivers may be mudded or turned 
into blood, yet the fountain of life runs away clear, and its 
streams pure as chrystal. On the supposition of family 
disappointments, David in his last words took comfort from 
the covenant of grace made with him. 

Are those dear to thee removed by death ? It is fit that 
that which is- sown should be watered. But sacrament 
comforts will keep us from sorrowing as those that have no 
hope. We have lost the satisfaction we used to have ia 
them ; but is not God better to us than ten sons ? Far bet- 
ter than ten thousand such relations could have been. 
And yet they are not lost; \\\e^ ^^ oi^i %one before, and 


ileath itself cannot wholly cut us ojQTfirom communion with 
them ; for we are come to the spirits of just men mads 
perfect, and hope to be with them shortly. 

Are the calamities of the church and of the nation our 
affliction 1 It is fit they should be so, for we have eaten 
and drunk into the great body, and, as lilting members, 
must feel its grievances ; but in the Lord's Supper we have 
seen what provision the grace of Grod hath made for his 
household, and from thence may infer the protection under 
which the providence of God will always keep it safe. 
The promises that are sealed to us, are sure to all the seed, 
and the covenant of grace is the rock on which the church 
is built, so firm that the gates of hell shall not prevail 
against it. The Lord, we see, hath founded Zion, and 
the poor of his people shall trust to that Let us at this 
ordinance learn this new song, and sing it ofl, — ^' Hallelu- 
jah, the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." 

6. Are the fears of death a trouble and terror to us?— - 
We may fetch from the Lord's Supper that which will enV 
ble us through grace to triumph over those fears. This is 
a fear which is oflen found to have torment, and by reason 
of it, many weak christians have been all *' their life time 
subject to bondage." It is also a fear which often brings 
a snare, exposeth us to many temptations, and gives Satan 
advantage against us. There are many who we hope, 
through grace, are saved from the second death, and yet 
are afraid of the first death, being more solicitous than - 
they need be about a dying life, and more timorous than 
they need to be of a living death, a death thai is their way to 
life. But the arrests of death, and its harbingers would 
not be at all dreadful, if we did but know how to make a 
due improvement of the comforts we are made partakers 
of at the table of the Lord. We there saw Christ dying, 
dying so great a death, a death in pomp, armed and attend- 
ed with all its terrors, dying in pain, in shame, in darkness, 
in agonies, and yet the Son of God, and the heir of all 
things. This takes off the reproach of death, so that now 
we need not be ashamed to die ; if Christ humbled him* 
self, and became obedient to death, why should npt we f 
It likewise takes off the terror of death, so that now we need 
not be afraid to die. When we walk through that daxk a^OLd 


liismal talley, we have no reason to fear any evi], while 
the great Shepherd of the sheep is not only gone before us, 
but goes along with us ; *' his rod and his staff they com* 
fort us." He is our leader, and we do not approve ourselves 
his good soldiers, if we be not willing to follow him whither^ 
soever he goes. He went through death to the joy set 
before him, and by that way can we follow him. Through 
this Jordan we roust enter Canaan. 

Christ's death hath broken the power of death, and taken 
from it all the armour wherein it trusted ; so that now, let 
it do its worst, it cannot do a good Christian any real pre- 
judice ; for it cannot ** separate him from the love of God. 
Surely the bitterness of death is now past," by Christ's 
tasting it. The sharpness of death Christ hath overcome, 
by submitting to it, and so hath opened the kingdom ef 
heaven to all believers. ''The sucking child may now 
play upon the hole of the asp, and the weaned child may 
put his hand on the cockatrice' den ; for death itself shall 
not hurt or destroy in all God's holy mountain." 

Nay, the death of Christ hath quite altered the property 
of death. It not only ceaseth to be an enemy, but it is be- 
come a friend : the covenant of grace, sealed to us in the 
Lord's supper, assures us of the unspeakable kindness that 
even death itself shall do us. '' All things are yours," and 
death amongst the rest. As the death of Christ was the 
purchase of our happiness ; so our own death is the pas- 
sage to our happiness ; it dischargeth us from our prison, 
and conveys us to our palace. The promise of eternal life 
sealed to us, and its earnests communicated to us, in 
this ordinance, enable us to look with comfort on the other 
side death, then we look without terror on this. 

Art thou afraid to give up thy soul ? Thou hast already 
given it up to God in Christ to be sanctified, and therefore 
thou mayest with holy cheerfulness give it up to God in 
Christ to be saved. The dyin^ Jesus, by committing his 
spirit into the hands of his Father, hath emboldened all 
his followers in a dying hour to do the same. Why should 
tliat soul be afraid to go out of the body, and leave thi* 
world of sense, which is by faith acquainted with the 
blessed world of spirits, and is sure of a g.iard of angels 
ready to convey it to ihat vfotld^aad «. faithful friend reads^ 
^0 receive it? 


Art thou afraid .to put off thy body ; the covenant sealed 
to thee at the Lord's table is a covenant with thy bones. 
Fear not the return of thine earth to its earth ; it is in or- 
<ler to its being refined, and in due time restored to its soul, 
a glorious and incorruptible body. Spiritual blessings are 
perhaps for this reason, in the sacraments represented and 
applied by outward and sensible signs, in the participation 
of which^ the body is concerqed, that we might thereby 
be confirmed in our believing hope of the glory prepared 
and reserved for these bodies of ours, these vile bodies, 
which even, while they lie in the grave, still remain united 
to Christ, and, when they shall be out of the grave, shali 
be made like unto his glorious body. 

Let the sinners in Zion be afraid to die, let fearfulnesR 
surprise the hypocrites, when their souls shall be required 
of them ; let their hearts meditate terror, and their face 
gather blackness, who, having lived a carnal, worldly, sen- 
sual life, having no interest in Christ and the promises ; 
for they shall cdl in vain to rocks and mountains to shelter 
them from the wrath of the Lamb ; but let them that have 
joined themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant, 
and have obtained mercy of the liord to be faithftil to that 
covenant, lifl up their heads with joy, for their redemption 
draws nigh. Death will shortly rend the interposing vail 
of sense, and time will shortly scatter all the darkning and 
threatening clouds which hang over our heads, and open to 
us a bright and glorious scene in that blessed world of life, 
and love, where we shall enjoy the substance of those 
things of which at the Lord's table we are refreshed with 
the shadow, and the full vintage of those joys of which 
here \ye have the first fruits. 

Learn then, my soul, learn thou to triumph over death, 
and the grave, " O death where is thy sting ? O grave, 
where is thy victory ?" Having laid up thy treasure within 
the vail, and remitted thy best effects, and best affections 
thither ; and having received the earnest of the purchased 
possession, be still looking, still longing for that blessed 
hope. Fear not death, for it cannot hurt thee ; but desire 
it rather, so it will greatly befriend thee. When the 
'* earthly house of this tabernacle shall be dissolved," thou 
dhait remove to the " house not made with hands^ ctcrnd 

"4 % '** 

' s. 

Sn the heafftts*" Wish then, wuh dailj, ibr ibm tomSaif 
of the Lord, far hs ihtU appeer to thy ^oy ; '^ the tuboh Is 
far an ammitod time, aad at the eaa it ihall apeak and 
ahatt not lie.'' Look throngfathewuidkiira of this house of 
ohjy like the aolher of Sinny whaa aha waited far her 
eon's triomph, and cry thronudi the liltieey ** Why ia his 
chark)t ao king in eoiBingt Why tanry the wheda of his 
ojwiott CoMe, Lord ^aoBy eene qoiokly.**